PC Gamer latest storieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/feed/en-usThu, 05 Mar 2015 02:06:31 +0000yesSteam sale discounts over 50 games coming to SteamOShttp://www.pcgamer.com/steam-sale-discounts-over-50-games-coming-to-steamos/Get The Witcher 2 for $4.Thu, 05 Mar 2015 02:06:31 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-sale-discounts-over-50-games-coming-to-steamos/Newssteam sale <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YkkbDj2VSu-F.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/enIf9BTTUUUQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 12.53.46 pm"></p><p>Retrieve your money piles and prepare to toss them at your screen, because Steam has&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/sale/steamos_sale">yet another sale</a>, this time celebrating all the titles confirmed to support SteamOS.&nbsp;</p><p>Highlights include Civilization V for $7.49 and The Witcher 2 for $3.99, but you can also pre-order Magicka 2 and Pillars of Eternity a bit cheaper than usual.</p><p>Valve has had a huge GDC: in addition to confirmation that Steam Machines will hit later this year, we've seen the company's Vive VR headset,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-announces-source-2-will-release-it-for-free-to-content-developers/">Source 2</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-announces-50-steam-link-streaming-box-and-steamvr-for-november-release/">Steam Link</a>, as well as what appears to be the final iteration of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-probably-final-steam-controller-appears-at-gdc/">Steam Controller</a>. Our money piles are rapidly depleting.</p> GDC panel: women in esports are "walking through a minefield"http://www.pcgamer.com/gdc-panel-women-in-esports-are-walking-through-a-minefield/Why aren't there more women in esports, and what can be done about it?Thu, 05 Mar 2015 02:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gdc-panel-women-in-esports-are-walking-through-a-minefield/eSportsGDC 2015 <p>With women making up around half of&nbsp;the world's&nbsp;gamers, why are there so relatively few high profile&nbsp;women pros in esports, and what can be done to further encourage their participation? That was one of several&nbsp;questions addressed at GDC on Tuesday in a panel titled Growing the Participation of Women in eSports. The panel was moderated by Lil Chen, designer for TED and former competitive&nbsp;Smash Brothers Melee player, and panelists included&nbsp;competitive Counter-Strike player and managing editor for ESEA&nbsp;Heather 'SapphiRe' Mumm,&nbsp;Kim Phan, the&nbsp;senior manager of esports for Blizzard Entertainment, and&nbsp;Rachel 'Seltzer' Quirico, esports host and member of the Frag Dolls team.</p><p>A number of issues were discussed in the panel, with the participants drawing on their own experiences from their competitive gaming&nbsp;careers. Heather Mumm spoke about often&nbsp;being the only woman on a team of men, and how she routinely&nbsp;felt blamed by fans for losses and yet denied credit for wins. A&nbsp;common&nbsp;perception, Mumm&nbsp;said, was that if her&nbsp;team lost, it was because they had a girl on the team, but if her team won, it was because the rest of the team carried her.</p><p>Kim Phan talked about why women might hesitate to become involved in&nbsp;esports, addressing the negative attention women routinely&nbsp;face coupled with&nbsp;the fear of speaking up about women's issues in gaming. She sympathized with the fact that many women don't want to be seen as the person who's always&nbsp;making a 'big deal' of things, which can make it difficult&nbsp;for women to support one another by speaking openly.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Gj1v4dDET5Cw.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2LL7li9CqDLC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Esports" class=""> <figcaption>Rachel Quirico on stage&nbsp;with Hearthstone BlizzCon 2014 winner&nbsp;James 'Firebat' Kostesich</figcaption></figure><p>Rachel&nbsp;Quirico&nbsp;brought up additional elements women often&nbsp;feel they have to worry about besides simply focusing on playing the game: concerns&nbsp;about being judged on&nbsp;their appearance, and having to&nbsp;be careful to seem&nbsp;friendly&mdash;but not <em style="background-color: initial;">too </em>friendly. She&nbsp;felt that drawing&nbsp;more women into competitive gaming would help alleviate these distractions. More women in esports should serve to make for a more well-rounded portrayal of women in competitive gaming in&nbsp;general,&nbsp;so they're not just seen as 'the girl' on the team&nbsp;but recognized for their different&nbsp;skills and personalities, as men are.</p><p>While acknowledging anyone in the public eye and on social media must perform&nbsp;a cautious&nbsp;tightrope walk regardless of gender, and that anyone can&nbsp;draw anger and criticism for their opinions, Quirico stated&nbsp;it's more perilous&nbsp;for women because threats are far more common. “It’s about once a week that I wake up with something really upsetting in my inbox, and I show it to my boyfriend, I show it to my coworkers, and they are shocked at the kind of stuff I get," Quirico said.&nbsp;"And you just have to realize that the women you know&nbsp;who are interacting in this space are walking through a minefield and you guys are skipping through a daisy patch."</p><p>The panel also discussed female-only tournaments, and why they're both beneficial and&nbsp;necessary in the current climate. Chess, for instance,&nbsp;features tournaments for women only,&nbsp;not to exclude men but to encourage women to participate.&nbsp;It doesn't mean women&nbsp;don't still practice against male players, nor is it intended to keep them out of regular tournaments.</p><p>Quirico compared it to putting on a tournament in a region where a game is unknown, which acts as a draw for a new audience. She&nbsp;said&nbsp;it was about increasing awareness and creating a welcoming environment for women, not about&nbsp;a difference in skill level between genders. Seeing teams of&nbsp;women playing competitively could inspire and encourage those hesitant to get involved.</p><p>Solutions were discussed, though there's certainly not a single, easily-outlined&nbsp;answer that's certain to&nbsp;improve the situation. The panelists called for more vocal&nbsp;support from those in the public eye, like&nbsp;well-known esports champs, as well as more support from&nbsp;tournament organizers. Also, they hoped for better rewards for top female players in the future,&nbsp;as well as more stories in the media, since much of the press coverage tends to focus on controversies&nbsp;when it comes to&nbsp;female esports figures. The ultimate goal, the panel concluded, is to make esports a more welcoming environment for everyone.</p> Vulnerability and VR: Crytek's tense Oculus Rift demohttp://www.pcgamer.com/vulnerability-and-vr-cryteks-tense-oculus-rift-demo/Crytek's 'Back to Dinosaur Island' demo made me sweat.Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:51:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/vulnerability-and-vr-cryteks-tense-oculus-rift-demo/CrytekGDC 2015Oculus RIFTOculus VRVR <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TIy2Yev8QRKE.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Qy4apWrnuhVM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="2015 03 04 Cryengine Page00 Trex Gdc"></p><p>I wasn't really scared of the T-rex staring me down. I'm pretty sure it was a loving stare, actually, and that I was a baby T-rex chilling in the nest. As I stood on the GDC 2015 show floor with an Oculus Rift Crescent Bay prototype on my head, I was scared of Crytek. I was scared that they'd tricked me into playing this demo so they could scare the crap out of me in public.</p><p>That would be a&nbsp;mean-spirited thing to do&mdash;making the T-rex snap my head off without warning&mdash;and of course, it didn't happen. After some roars, the dino bounded off into the jungle. But I had to tell myself that Crytek wouldn't do that to me&nbsp;the <i style="background-color: initial;">whole</i> time. <em>Crytek isn't mean. Crytek won't bite my head off</em><em>&nbsp;while I'm surrounded by hundreds of people.</em></p><p>The coolest thing about Crytek's 'Back to Dinosaur Island' demo is actually really sweet. As the T-rex peered into my eyes, I got a tap on the shoulder. "Tilt your head," said a voice from the other world. I did, and the beast tilted its head with me. The 'I tilt my head when you tilt your head game' is my freaking favorite thing about dogs. It's one of the best things about anything, really. It would've been more adorable if there were fewer sharp teeth involved, but I really liked it. Yet still, I'm thinking, "Hello dinosaur, please don't suddenly&nbsp;bite my head off. I will look very stupid if you do."</p><p>Wearing an Oculus Rift can be&nbsp;scary. If I'm watching a horror movie and I don't like what's about to happen, I can look away and&nbsp;study something in the room to remind myself that whatever awful finger-related injury is&nbsp;on the screen&nbsp;is just an effect. In VR, I am at&nbsp;the mercy of the game designer. They can make me jump whenever they want, or gross me&nbsp;out, or all kinds of things I haven't thought of because no one's done it. It is a very vulnerable position to be in, and makes VR not&nbsp;entirely pleasant.&nbsp;</p><p>It comes with the territory, though. Either I'm looking at a flat screen and there's that barrier between what's real and what's a game, or my vision is so filled with a new reality that I believe it and can be manipulated by it.&nbsp;Crytek and the Oculus Rift had me feeling&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-crescent-bay-prototype-hands-on-experiencing-true-vr-presence-for-the-first-time/">that sense of VR 'presence</a>' enough that a jump scare would've destroyed me, but it wasn't fully there. The demo was running on some fancy Nvidia hardware (though not&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-announces-titan-x-the-most-advanced-gpu-the-worlds-ever-seen/">the Titan X</a> announced today) at over&nbsp;90 fps, and looked gorgeous, but I had some issues with the Rift.&nbsp;The headset was uncomfortable over my glasses and there was a crack of light at the bottom,&nbsp;and though it's a massive improvement over the first Rift DK, I still felt like I was peering through a screen door. The consumer version is said to be another big leap, which is encouraging.&nbsp;I also wonder how much it would have improved if I'd&nbsp;been able to adjust the optics and not use my&nbsp;glasses.</p><p>It is close, though&mdash;whether or not it happens in this&nbsp;first round of consumer releases, I very much believe that&nbsp;VR tech is going to get to the point where we feel totally present in virtual worlds. And it made me realize that we're going to have to put a lot of&nbsp;trust in&nbsp;the people making VR games. They can't mess with us,&nbsp;or at least, not any more than we agree to be messed with before putting on the headset.</p><p>I will not be playing VR horror games.</p> Alien director Neill Blomkamp says Alien: Isolation "got it so perfect"http://www.pcgamer.com/alien-director-neill-blomkamp-says-alien-isolation-got-it-so-perfect/Blomkamp is directing the next Alien film.Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:28:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/alien-director-neill-blomkamp-says-alien-isolation-got-it-so-perfect/Alien: IsolationHorrorNewsThe Creative Assembly <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/N8OSRWcvRNu8.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5i1tVcctOpas.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="13 Alien"></p><p>District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, who revealed last month that he's turning his talents to the next Alien movie, recently told <a href="http://ca.ign.com/articles/2015/03/04/how-district-9-director-neill-blomkamp-got-the-alien-gig">IGN</a> that he's a big fan of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/alien-isolation/">Alien: Isolation</a>. In fact, he said the game was so good that it actually forced him to question how he wanted to present the technology that will underpin the film.</p><p>One of the cool things about Alien: Isolation is the way it maintains the vision of the future as it was seen in 1979: Everything is big, clunky, and monochromatic, just as it was in the movie. "The chunky keyboards, phone receivers, distorted CRT monitors, and blinking coloured lights should look dated, but it has quite the opposite effect," as we noted in our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/alien-isolation-review/">review</a>. "This is a tactile, practical, and convincing science-fiction world, with machines and environments that are functional and utilitarian, rather than overtly futuristic."</p><p>It's a style that Blomkamp was apparently taken by, too. "I’m such a visual person that the narrative of stuff is neither here nor there for me sometimes. It’s literally about imagery. And when I saw the images I thought, ‘Sh*t, they can’t be that good'," he said. "And then I played it and to me it was that good. It’s so good. It’s ridiculous."</p><p>The game made enough of an impact to leave him questioning how he wanted to depict advanced technology in the new film. Referring to the green CRT displays, dot matrix printers, and "Mother," the Nostromo's mainframe computer, he said, "That sh*t was real man. On the planet, in that future, that was cutting edge. So it’s an interesting debate if you look at it from my standpoint, which is, do I make my cutting edge&hellip; is it cutting edge, or is it actually closer to the first two [films]? Because I wanted to be like it has the same parent. It’s a genetic offspring of the first two movies, and Alien: Isolation made me question that quite a lot. Because they got it so perfect with all of the late 1970s, early ‘80s tech, it’s really cool."</p><p>The actual influence that Alien: Isolation will have on Blomkamp's film remains to be seen, but it certainly speaks highly of The Creative Assembly's efforts to capture the "real" feeling of Alien&mdash;something we <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/game-of-the-year-2014-alien-isolation/">took note of</a> as well. </p> Magicka 2 will arrive in May, so here's a new trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/magicka-2-will-arrive-in-may-so-heres-a-new-trailer/New artefacts system allows range of new customizations.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 23:43:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/magicka-2-will-arrive-in-may-so-heres-a-new-trailer/ActionMagickaNewsParadox InteractiveRPG <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CNODcpGnxVY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/magicka-2-preview-its-still-fun-but-hard-to-control-a-wizard/">Magicka 2</a> will release May 26, confirms the cheeky trailer above. The series' unique improvisational approach to attack combinations will arrive with a new artifact system, which introduces the ability to dramatically change the way the game plays.&nbsp;</p><p>Artifacts can be used to make your wizards portly or to add&nbsp;canned applause, which is sure to inspire a boost of confidence as you kill things spectacularly. On the list of actually useful and not very funny things, you can tweak pretty much every gameplay element: enemy&nbsp;strength, magic types and much more&nbsp;can be customized, but artifacts are a finite source so you'll need to choose wisely.</p><p>Emanuel played Magicka 2 late last year and described it as "<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/magicka-2-preview-its-still-fun-but-hard-to-control-a-wizard/">more, slightly prettier Magicka</a>". You can already&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/238370/">pre-order it on Steam</a>, where a Linux version is promised later in the year.</p> Evolve's "Observer Mode" revealed in new gameplay videohttp://www.pcgamer.com/evolves-observer-mode-revealed-in-new-gameplay-video/Livestreaming Evolve is about to get a whole lot easier.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:55:15 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/evolves-observer-mode-revealed-in-new-gameplay-video/2K GamesEvolveFPSNewsTurtle Rock <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/A845zP4f7CM?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/evolve/">Evolve</a> will soon offer an Observer Mode that will enable a sixth player to join the game, track the action from multiple perspectives, and livestream matches, complete with commentary. The new mode will be added as a free update to the game, on all platforms.</p><p> Observers will be able to switch seamlessly between the Hunters and the Monster, and rotate the camera 360 degrees in order to view the battle from any angle. Turtle Rock has also created a special HUD for the new mode that can display details like survival odds, perks in use, and a minimap overlay, or that can be switched off completely for a more spectator-friendly view.</p><p> The addition of the new mode isn't surprising&mdash;Evolve is getting its own <a href="http://www.eslgaming.com/news/esl-and-2k-join-forces-all-new-go4evolve-tournament-series">ESL Go4 tournament</a> series this year, and accessible livestreaming functionality is mandatory if it's going to succeed as an e-sport. Speaking of which, you'll be able to see the Observer Mode in action this Friday during the Evolve ESL Pro-Am tournament, which will be broadcast live from PAX East on <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/evolvegame">Twitch</a>.</p><p>A release date for Observer Mode hasn't been announced, but Turtle Rock said it's "coming soon."&nbsp;</p> Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball — first impressionshttp://www.pcgamer.com/robot-roller-derby-disco-dodgeball-first-impressions/We take a look at an arena shooter cleverlydisguised as robot dodgeball.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:18:43 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/robot-roller-derby-disco-dodgeball-first-impressions/arena shootersFPSLPCRobot Roller-Derby Disco DodgeballVideos <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZvDzIBIEKu0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> On last week's episode of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show/" target="_blank">PC Gamer Show</a>, we talked about the rise and fall of the arena shooter. What was once one of the most beloved genres on the PC has waned in popularity in recent years, but might be on the rise again. You can watch our full discussion of arena shooters&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show-are-arena-shooters-coming-back/" target="_blank">here</a>, but I wanted to highlight a relatively new game that we didn't mention on the show.&nbsp;</p><p> Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball came out early last month and is a fresh take on the classic arena shooter formula. Although it's an insta-gib game, timing your shots and waiting for the right moment to strike is very important and cuts out some of the twitch precision that frustrates me with other insta-gib games. It's by no means perfect, as I did encounter occasional lag issues, but its silly title and attitude can make it&nbsp;easy to overlook. Watch the video above for my first impressions of the game.</p> Unity, Unreal, and Crytek engines face off in a GDC showcase showdownhttp://www.pcgamer.com/unity-unreal-and-crytek-engines-face-off-in-a-gdc-showcase-showdown/It's a sizzle reel extravaganza!Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:55:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/unity-unreal-and-crytek-engines-face-off-in-a-gdc-showcase-showdown/CryEngineGDC 2015NewsUnityUnreal Engine <p> As the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gdc-2015/">Game Developers Conference</a> rolls on, Unity, Epic, and Crytek have each put together "sizzle reels" showing off the capabilities of their game engines. We've collected all three of them together in this news post: Do you dare to compare?</p><p> Game engines are big news at GDC this year. On Sunday, Epic announced that the Unreal Engine 4 is now <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/unreal-engine-4-is-now-free/">available at no charge</a>: Developers need only pay a five percent royalty on gross revenues on shipped games or applications, which Epic's Tim Sweeney described as "a simple arrangement in which we succeed only when you succeed."</p><p> Yesterday, Unity Technologies went one step further by making the Personal Edition of the Unity 5 engine straight-up free, no strings attached, while the Professional Edition can be had for $75 per month or $1500 outright&mdash;not exactly cheap, but almost certainly a cheaper option than Epic's percentage-based cut. Crytek's CryEngine remains somewhere between the two, where it's been <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/crytek-are-also-targeting-indies-announce-royalty-free-cryengine-subscription/">since the last GDC</a>, available for a $10 monthly subscription with no royalty fees.</p><p> So which one is better? The Unreal Engine 4 has a technological edge over Unity, but Unity 5 is a big step up from previous versions and will have built-in support for the Oculus Rift in the relatively near future. The CryEngine, meanwhile, has always been about bludgeoning even powerful PCs into submission, and I think it's interesting that its "tech showcase" video focuses on its specific capabilities, like Screen Space Directional Occlusion and Volumetric Fog Shadows, rather than a simpler and more consumer-friendly list of games it's being used in, as the other two do.</p><p>The particulars of this engine or that may not really matter to people who don't make games (which is most of us), but what does matter is that this kind of technology, that not so long ago was available to only a few select studios, can now be had by virtually anyone. That's an exciting development no matter how you look at it.</p><p> And now, to the videos!</p><p> Unity 5:</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Sxg_m3Qsnik?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"> </iframe><p> Unreal Engine 4:</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/g_MY5oP-ks4?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"> </iframe><p> CryEngine:</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/L_wAnLxtmZ0?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe> Electronic Arts closes SimCity studio Maxis Emeryvillehttp://www.pcgamer.com/electronic-arts-closes-simcity-studio-maxis-emeryville/"It's time to turn off the lights and put the key under the door."Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:45:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/electronic-arts-closes-simcity-studio-maxis-emeryville/Electronic ArtsMaxisNewsSimCityThe Sims <p>Electronic Arts has closed down SimCity studio Maxis Emeryville. The news was revealed on Twitter by SimCity lead gameplay scripter and designer Guillaume Pierre, and confirmed in a statement by EA.</p><p>"Well it was a fun 12 years, but it's time to turn off the lights and put the key under the door. #RIPMaxisEmeryville," Pierre <a href="https://twitter.com/MaxisGuillaume">tweeted</a> earlier this afternoon. In subsequent tweets, he clarified that "the shop is closing down," and "Everyone's out of a job."</p><p>Electronic Arts confirmed the closure with the following statement:&nbsp;</p><p><em>"Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to our studios in Redwood Shores, Salt Lake City, Helsinki and Melbourne locations as we close our Emeryville location. Maxis continues to support and develop new experiences for current Sims and SimCity players, while expanding our franchises to new platforms and developing new cross-platform IP. </em></p><p><em>These changes do not impact our plans for The Sims. Players will continue to see rich new experiences in The Sims 4, with our first expansion pack coming soon along with a full slate of additional updates and content in the pipeline.</em></p><p><em>All employees impacted by the changes today will be given opportunities to explore other positions within the Maxis studios and throughout EA. For those that are leaving the company, we are working to ensure the best possible transition with separation packages and career assistance."</em></p><p>Maxis was founded by Will Wright and Jeff Braun in 1987, and was acquired by EA in 1997. Its most recent release, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-sims-4-review/">The Sims 4</a>, was reasonably well-received, but its attempt to revive the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/simcity/">SimCity</a> franchise in 2013 was plagued by numerous technical and design flaws. It's unknown how many employees will be affected by the closure.</p> Valve has not announced Portal 3 with a VR demohttp://www.pcgamer.com/valve-has-not-announced-portal-3-with-a-vr-demo/Valve clarifies that nature of the new Portal-thing it's showing at GDC.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:40:38 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-has-not-announced-portal-3-with-a-vr-demo/FPSNewsPortal 2Valve <p>At GDC today, Valve has been showing off a demo of HTC's new virtual reality headset. We're going to see the demo tomorrow morning, but we already know a lot about it from our colleagues' reports: it looks a lot like a new Portal. It is not a new Portal.</p><p>I reached out to Valve and asked for a comment on how the demo is being interpreted: <a href="http://www.cnet.com/news/watch-out-oculus-htc-vives-vr-experience-is-astonishing/">CNet</a>, for instance, said it "sounds like" Portal 3, while Tom Parsons of Stuff claimed that he had actually played a Portal 3 demo during his <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2HeKO-UivI&amp;t=157">Vive hands-on</a>. I told Valve that I was skeptical that they'd soft-announced Portal 3. Valve director of marketing&nbsp;Doug Lombardi responded, "We have not."</p><p>I followed up to be absolutely clear, asking, "The demo being shown does not represent a prototype or indicate any plan for a new Portal?" Lombardi replied, "Correct. Just a demo."&nbsp;So no, this isn't Portal 3. It's just a tech&nbsp;demo until we know more&mdash;and I suspect Valve is just&nbsp;having fun with some existing art.</p> ​Microsoft releasing Xbox wireless dongle for PC this yearhttp://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-releasing-xbox-wireless-dongle-for-pc-this-year/Wireless Xbox One controllers on PC. And other accessories, if you care about those.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:11:25 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-releasing-xbox-wireless-dongle-for-pc-this-year/MicrosoftNewsXbox <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mUTMvuiyQJCF.JPG" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KHjzrwGy6ycp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dsc04902"></p><p>At Microsoft's GDC conference on Wednesday, Xbox head Phil Spencer announced that&nbsp;Microsoft will be&nbsp;releasing a wireless dongle for PC later this year. The dongle will allow PC gamers to use wireless Xbox One controllers and all other wireless Xbox&nbsp;peripherals on Windows PCs.</p><p>It sounds like a much better solution than t<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-reveal-wired-xbox-one-controller-for-pc/">he "wired" controller Microsoft announced last year</a>, which was actually just a wireless controller with an included USB cable.</p><p>Spencer didn't give a price, date, or any other details, but it's coming sometime this year.</p> #IDARB coming to Windows 10 with console crossplayhttp://www.pcgamer.com/idarb-coming-to-windows-10-with-console-crossplay/Cross-platform multiplayer, check.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:46:47 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/idarb-coming-to-windows-10-with-console-crossplay/MicrosoftNewsWindows 10 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TttSGfvRS-KB.JPG" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WWfM-L8vA8za.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dsc04907"></p><p>At Microsoft's GDC talk on Xbox and Windows 10, Phil Spencer announced that local multiplayer game #IDARB will be making its way from the Xbox One to Windows 10. #IDARB developers got on stage to demonstrate cross-platform play, with two players on an Xbox One and two players on a Microsoft Surface running Windows 10.</p><p>No release date was announced, but since #IDARB is already available on Xbox One, we wouldn't be surprised to see IDARB show up on Windows 10 when it launches later this year.</p> LoL's Morello: design for depth first, accessibility laterhttp://www.pcgamer.com/lols-morello-design-for-depth-first-accessibility-later/LoL lead game designer Morello explains the theory of "complexity vs. depth" in MOBA design.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:13:38 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/lols-morello-design-for-depth-first-accessibility-later/GDC 2015League of LegendsMOBARiot Games <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dR_Iksc7QQys.JPG" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YGYuolbmu1OJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Morello"></p><p>League of Legends is the most-played game in the world. It’s also, like Dota 2 and other lane-pushers, incredibly deep, with more than a hundred champions and layers upon layers of systems and strategy. The common wisdom is that lane-pushers are so complicated, they’re often intimidating and drive away potential new players. At a GDC 2015 talk on Tuesday, Riot Games’ lead designer Ryan “Morello” Scott had an interesting take on that common wisdom. Short version: he thinks it’s wrong.</p><p>“I feel that paradox [between complexity and accessibility] exists, I think the way we analyze it in this industry is intuitive, but I don’t think it’s correct,” Scott said. “Let’s think about games that are really culturally relevant to us as gamers. That we talk about 10 years later, we talk about them as big pieces of what we’re thinking about. Counter-Strike. Starcraft. Halo series. Games like this. These games all have depth depending on what you want in a game...that’s what makes popular games. All those games require mastery.</p><p>“Our assumption from the get-go is that players desire mastery. It’s one of our core pillars of League of Legends and Riot in general. With that, we think the paradox is actually: if you try to make your game broadly appealing first, and then make it deep, you fail. Because you’re building on a weak foundation. There’s nothing to hold up the house. Accessibility’s great, but it can’t be the foundation of your game. If you build depth first, and make a game that’s rich in decision making, highly challenging, lets you master things over tens or hundreds or thousands of hours, then go, ‘okay, we’ve made it, great. Now how do we make it so it’s more [approachable?]’</p><p>“I think those games, in the long-term, are much more popular...There are people here still playing Counter-Strike. That game is 16 years old. It’s because the mastery is that rich. That’s how much I think our brains are hardwired to want to learn, to want to overcome. If you deliver that to players in ways that are fun and satisfying, I think it's a mistake to underestimate that people are smart and want to learn. If you assume they don’t, I think that’s underestimating what players are capable of.”</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pamh_depRMu_.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DsAxXIbcQK85.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="League of Legends"></p><p>It’s an interesting explanation for why games with especially high skill ceilings&mdash;games that reward mastery over a span of months or years&mdash;tend to foster passionate communities. Lane-pushers like League of Legends and especially Dota 2 are often criticized for their complexity, but Scott made a thoughtful point about two aspects of MOBA design: complexity and depth. They might sound like the same thing, but he had a good argument for why they’re separate concepts, and why depth is more important than complexity.</p><p>“Complexity and depth have a relationship, but they’re not the same thing,” Scott said. “Complexity is a cost, and you try to pay the littlest cost you can in complexity to get the most depth. So if you [say] ‘I want this depth, how do I care that the gameplay systems around the depth are the most understandable versions?’ “</p><p>The gameplay mechanic of <a href="http://dota2.gamepedia.com/Denying">denying</a>&mdash;killing your own minions to rob the enemy team of the experience and gold they’d earn by getting the kills&mdash;came up as an example of complexity that didn’t add much depth, which is why Riot removed denying from the game during its beta. Dota 2 players may disagree, but Scott had an argument for denial’s removal.</p><p>“I think some explanation is important on that,” he said. “It’s kind of like, the analogy I would use is, you want to add skill to the game, you want to make sure skills will be tested. So think about last hitting. You’re trying to manage minions. That’s taking your focus, and while you’re doing that you have an enemy trying to disrupt you. Denying is actually the same skillset you're testing. [Killing] minions, being pressured by an opponent, watching your health, things like that. It double dips into the same skillset.</p><p>“So does it create a higher skill ceiling? Yes. But it tests the same skill twice. Is it also superfluous? We thought, yes. It adds complexity, but it adds low depth.&hellip;The cost to benefit ratio for how much it adds weight to the game’s back, versus how much more it allows for the mastery of the players is low, so that’s where we started making cuts.”</p><p>So, high skill ceilings and games that encourage players to commit hundreds of hours to master them? Great. Except a skill ceiling that’s too high can add messy complexity while gaining minimal depth. As difficult as lane-pushers are to play, designing them is clearly a whole ‘nother level of tricky.</p> The (probably) final Steam controller appears at GDChttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-probably-final-steam-controller-appears-at-gdc/This is it!Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:03:29 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-probably-final-steam-controller-appears-at-gdc/GDC 2015HardwareNewsSteam ControllerValve <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/auDU7KC-QYKg.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ieOZqik1hw_g.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Steam Controller balanced 2"></p><p>What appears to be the final design of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-controller/">Steam controller</a> has been revealed at GDC, in a surprisingly informal fashion: By a picture on the side of Valve's booth.</p><p>The Steam controller has gone through a number of revisions over the past year or so, but the final design appears to be the same as the mockup that appeared in the Steam client beta in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/new-steam-controller-mockup-appears-in-latest-client-beta/">December</a>. What we can't see in this photo are the shoulder bumpers, although that would jibe with our previous impression that they'd been rounded down from the design that turned up in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/new-steam-controller-image-suggests-valve-adding-an-analog-stick/">July</a>.</p><p>"Play all your Steam games from the comfort of your couch," the picture states. "Enjoy high-precision, dual trackpad input combined with low-latency wireless performance."</p><p>It looks good, but it also looks like, well, a controller. What do you think? Do you see a year-and-a-half worth of innovation and refinement here, or is it more of a wheel, reinvented? We'll get our hands on it and tell you what <em>we</em> think tomorrow.</p> Servo is a loot-based RTS from the makers of Age of Empireshttp://www.pcgamer.com/servo-is-a-loot-based-rts-from-the-makers-of-age-of-empires/Servo is slated to come out later this year.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:16:43 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/servo-is-a-loot-based-rts-from-the-makers-of-age-of-empires/BonusXPNewsRTSServoStardock <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OgVQTNC6KeA?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> At first glance, Servo looks like fairly standard sci-fi RTS fare, with giant fighting robots called servos doing battle on the surface of Old Earth over the dangerous but highly lucrative resource called Bloom. But underpinning the action is a persistent scavenging element with RPG-style progression, as parts and weapons discovered during missions can be added to your servos to make them more powerful for future missions.</p><p> Servo will offer a single-player campaign with 25 missions as well as co-operative and PvP modes, but unlike most RTS games, individual missions will be fairly short, typically running just ten to 15 minutes in length. "That feels actually pretty great," Dave Pottinger, co-founder and president of developer BonusXP, says in the announcement trailer. "You play a ten or 15-minute game, you get a new part, you decide if you want to keep it, if you want to keep it you go put it on one of your servos, and you have at it again."</p><p> "Designing a team of Servos that works well together to execute your strategies – and can react to the new challenges each match brings – is as important as building up an economy or landing a perfect rocket swarm," the team said in the announcement.</p><p> Servo is being developed by <a href="http://bonusxp.com/">BonusXP</a>, an indie studio formed by veterans of Ensemble Games including Pottinger and Bruce Shelley, who co-designed the original Civilization along with Sid Meier before&nbsp;joining Ensemble to help create Age of Empires. It's scheduled to launch via Early Access "in the coming months" ahead of a full release later this year, but preorders can be placed now at <a href="http://www.servogame.com/">servogame.com</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZXsnk5lrSQaU.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UHfcrl8PyT6C.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Servo"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/naBm-lXfS4mq.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uNsYqkO5Jlp2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Servo"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iTFClV4-RTi5.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VHm6NhYR-iDn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Servo"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qwoB7U_URY2o.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/X_Qm2SpY_Z36.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Servo"></p> Nvidia announces Titan X: 12 GB VRAM, 8 billion transistorshttp://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-announces-titan-x-the-most-advanced-gpu-the-worlds-ever-seen/Nvidia's most advanced GPU has8 billion transistors and a 12 GB buffer.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:12:28 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-announces-titan-x-the-most-advanced-gpu-the-worlds-ever-seen/EpicNewsNvidia <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zBKATsQSRY6f.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/97ZgY_aH3pPP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Titan X 2"></p><p>At Epic founder&nbsp;Tim Sweeney's State of Unreal talk from GDC this morning, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang came to the stage to announce the Titan X, which he calls "most advanced GPU the world's ever seen."</p><p>It began as Sweeney lamented that achieving the potential of&nbsp;virtual reality and photorealistic graphics is going to require better GPUs. Huang joined him on&nbsp;stage, joking, "This GDC is about VR ... it needs an amazing GPU. And so the problem that I've got is this: If I launched our next generation GPU two weeks from now, GDC 2015 would be a bust.&nbsp;Now that's a legitimate problem&mdash;not just for me, that's a legitimate&nbsp;problem for the world."</p><p>Huang then unveiled the Titan X, boasting a 12 GB buffer and&nbsp;"8 billion transistors," and presented the first one off the line to Sweeney. We'll have more as the story develops.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vCWSDcFJQ_im.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TGKsjSikGe2N.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GeForce GTX TITANX"></p> République Remastered Episodes 1-3 reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/republique-remastered-episodes-1-3-review/Hack your charge out of a dystopian prison in this clever adventure game.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:15:59 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/republique-remastered-episodes-1-3-review/AdventurePuzzleRepublique RemasteredReviews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BPqgXxN9Th6V.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Xq5eTJSlv_61.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Republique 1"></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">EPISODIC REVIEWS</h5><p>You can’t buy&nbsp;République's episodes one at a time&nbsp;on PC; you have to buy&nbsp;<a href="http://République">the whole season</a> for $25/£19. Only three of the five planned episodes have been released,&nbsp;so it doesn’t make much sense for us to score&nbsp;République Remastered as a finished package just yet.&nbsp;We’ll review and score the whole thing when all the episodes have been released, while individual episode reviews like this one will be unscored criticism.</p></div><p><em>By Jordan Erica Webber</em></p><p>Not enough games explore the distance between player and protagonist. In République Remastered, a visually overhauled version of the episodic mobile game, the relationship is laid bare. The hero of the story is Hope, a prisoner in a totalitarian society called the République. You play her anonymous helper, hacking into CCTV cameras to follow her progress, telling her where to go but never controlling her directly. Click on a spot and she’ll move there, but if she spots a guard, she’ll say so and try to retreat. She moves more stealthily in occupied rooms, and will duck behind cover or peer around corners, which adds to the fiction that she’s an independent thinker.</p><p>Your job is to use the maligned surveillance technology to help her escape the surveillance state, or at least the facility&mdash;Metamorphosis&mdash;in which Hope was born. Pressing space activates your “OMNI View” software, which pauses the action (narratively jarring but useful), and lets you click on other cameras to switch view, scout ahead and unlock doors. It’s like Watch Dogs without all the murder. Hope is averse to violence and will go no further than shocking the Prizrak guards with their own tasers.</p><p>You’re guided initially by an insider called Cooper, and a Metroidvania-type process develops. Hope wants help from the librarian, but you can’t unlock the library door without upgrading your software, so Cooper directs you to a room at the other end of the facility to do just that. There’s some backtracking, but I didn’t see any room enough times to get too bored, and while some of the more clinical lab-style environments are generic the rest&mdash;particularly the old-fashioned wood-panelled rooms like the large library&mdash;are more interesting, and prettier for being remastered in Unity 5.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6mzS4M49Sgyu.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QGhy4lYm26sd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Republique Remastered 4"></p><p>I expected the task of leading Hope past guards to become repetitive, particularly since I played the three available episodes back to back, but it never did. Partly that’s because failure is less frustrating than in a traditional stealth game: the Prizrak just escorts Hope to a nearby confinement room, and once he leaves you let her out again. The fiction forbids her death, but it does make the Prizrak seem incredibly naïve. I must have helped Hope escape from confinement at least a dozen times, and they never thought to come up with a better solution.</p><p>One thing that does make the Prizrak feel like more than shortsighted AI bots, presumably as a happy accident, is that some are named after Kickstarter backers. They have biographies complete with a mug shot and whatever the backer thought would be funny to list under medical history and criminal charges. Differing Prizrak armour and armaments give them more meaningful variety. Suited-up guards are invulnerable to tasers, but vulnerable to pepper spray, for example.</p><p>Hope can use pepper spray and even sleeping gas mines when instructed, though she'll also autonomously defend herself when caught. You can add to your personal hacking arsenal by trading intel with a “Data Broker” in exchange for upgrades to your OMNI View. Because I’m a sucker for gossip, I snubbed one that let me see Prizrak through walls in favour of the ability to read emails and listen to answerphone messages.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cBPN51-wQGCm.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/73IbPLNw08Pf.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Republique Remastered 2"></p><p>There’s an impressive amount of bonus story to uncover, which rewards thorough exploration of the facility. I once left Hope frozen in a room she found upsetting (for reasons I won't spoil) just so I could look through banned books I’d found, and listen to the audio descriptions given them by the “Headmaster”. Those who’ve read any of those included&mdash;A Clockwork Orange, Animal Farm&mdash;will be interested to hear why they've become prohibited.</p><p>Perhaps the most interesting use of audio clips is in episode three, in which you spy on people’s lives and assist with some thoroughly unethical journalism. Most of the side activities&mdash;like turning on statue lights in the right order to open a door&mdash;are less interesting, but I found this one particularly engaging.</p><p>Each episode has been more interesting than the last, which bodes well for the two episodes still to come. By this point, I care about helping Hope, and not just because I’m supposed to&mdash;perhaps because she actually begged me not to let the Prizrak Taser her again&mdash;and I’m even invested in the wellbeing of some other characters too. The cliffhanger endings are abrupt, but they work, and I’m genuinely looking forward to finding out what happens next.</p> Metal Gear Online trailer commentary is full of detailhttp://www.pcgamer.com/metal-gear-online-trailer-commentary-is-full-of-detail/Kojima Productions doesn't trust you not to shoot a dog, and other revelations.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:15:10 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/metal-gear-online-trailer-commentary-is-full-of-detail/ActionKojima ProductionsMetal Gear Solid V: The Phantom PainNewsStealth <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Zn1SubMDTESG.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U6Nf5Y6T3Dsi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mgo"></p><p>Among today's many MGS news droplets came this, courtesy of&nbsp;<a href="http://uk.ign.com/videos/2015/03/04/mgs5metal-gear-online-trailer-secrets" target="_blank">IGN</a>. It's the same Metal Gear Online trailer that was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/metal-gear-online-gameplay-footage-is-right-here/" target="_blank">released last December</a>, only now with added&nbsp;commentary by Kojima Productions LA's Robert Peeler. It goes into extra detail about The Phantom Pain's online mode, and&mdash;among other things&mdash;lets you know why the team chose to include a stuffed puppy instead of a real one. (Spoiler: it's because you can't be trusted not to shoot a real puppy.)</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/D8HOJvK7P2U" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Admit it: you would totally shoot the puppy.</p><p>Metal Gear Online is part and parcel of The Phantom Pain package. It looks fun and, if previous MGO releases are anything to go by, should be a competently made diversion.</p><p>The Phantom Pain will release for PC on September 15.</p> Why I Love: Diablo III’s followershttp://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-love-diablo-iiis-followers/When you don't have a friend to help you kill demons, Diablo III's followers do more than just fight with you.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-love-diablo-iiis-followers/BlizzardDiablo 3RPGWhy I Love <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ynm40lgMSIiS.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/K089GOq0XZuD.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Diablo 3 followers"><em style="background-color: initial;">Written by Jody Macgregor.</em></p><p>My friends and I lost a lot of time to Diablo II when it came out, trapped in a frenzy of clicking every weekend. But in the 12 years between that and Diablo III I moved and made new friends who were less interested in clicking and more likely to be put off by Diablo III’s flaws, of which I’m the first to admit there are plenty. So I went back to the village of Tristram alone.</p><p>Yes, I know: sad trombone. I tried playing with strangers but it wasn’t the same and in the end I switched to private mode and relied on NPC followers instead. To my surprise they weren’t the boring meat-shields you hired in Diablo II, but actual characters with personalities. It’s not obvious at first&mdash;the Templar, Scoundrel, and Enchantress slot neatly into your bog-standard Fighter, Rogue, Wizard archetypes&mdash;but it became clearer the more time I spent with them.</p><p>Kormac the Templar, for instance, is first encountered halfway through the Cathedral level, where you rescue him from a band of cultists. It’s the same setup everybody running Dungeons &amp; Dragons uses when they need to introduce a new player but the party’s halfway through an adventure. Rescue this guy whose objectives neatly align with yours, then back on with the show. He’s a devoted holy warrior from the order of yadda yadda whatever, let’s kill some monsters and take their stuff.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wHspphFSR56q.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/w1QQ109uimXS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Diablo 3 follower 2"></p><p>When you’re done dropping giant bells on skeletons, throwing exploding frogs at imps, or whatever it is you do, Kormac tells you he’s suffering from amnesia. We’re still in stereotype-land here, fantasy heroes develop amnesia like you or I catch colds. But while Kormac’s order told him his forgotten youth is full of sin he needs to seek redemption for, he doesn’t seem the type. With a little prodding he’ll start digging into his dark past to find out why he was robbed of his memories. </p><p>And then he makes you promise that if he falls back into sinful ways, you’ll be the one to kill him. </p><p>It’s a character moment with unexpected impact. This is the same game where a blacksmith begs you to help euthanize his wife because she’s transforming into an undead monster, and as soon as that’s finished hands you a sidequest to find his missing apprentice as if you’ve just done nothing more significant than clear his basement of rats. Emotional heft is not Diablo III’s specialty.</p><p>The other followers initially seem shallow as well. Lyndon the Scoundrel is Han Solo but even less of a gentleman; Eirana the Enchantress is a bookish shut-in who happens to be handy with magic missiles. But get to know them and you learn that Lyndon sends the money he steals to the family of his jailed brother to assuage his guilt over both the arrest and his secret love for his brother’s wife. Meanwhile it turns out Eirana’s naivete stems from the fact she grew up in another era and was put into magical hibernation, then revived in an age where everyone she knows is dead. They all have regrets and things they’ve lost.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/otT2UafhQeyq.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7JEZoGllu0FB.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Diablo 3 follower 2"></p><p>It’s the same effective formula BioWare uses. Characters seem like bundles of tropes you’re immediately comfortable with, but inevitably reveal a tragic backstory as you work your way through their dialogue looking for sidequests. Lyndon calls you out for exactly this when you ask him to tell you about his brother: “And then what? I suppose you’ll make it all right? You’ll fix it up just like another one of your little errands? Some things aren’t that easy.”</p><p>To hear all of the followers’ dialogue you need to check back regularly during each act, take them each into battle, and do absurd things like revisit the quests you found them in so they can meet themselves&mdash;Eirana’s reaction to discovering one of her “sisters” is priceless. The amount of effort put into something few players will notice is absurd, but wonderful to stumble across. Players who are just in Diablo III for the click-frenzy and never listen to the NPCs&mdash;a totally valid technique for slogging through the bland main plot&mdash;will never notice this stuff. That makes finding it seem even more special, a loot drop as rare as any legendary sword.</p> Double Fine makes Broken Age documentary freehttp://www.pcgamer.com/double-fine-makes-broken-age-documentary-free/Now non-backers can watch the creation of Broken Age from the comfort of YouTube.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:55:18 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/double-fine-makes-broken-age-documentary-free/AdventureBroken AgeDouble FineNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BYJhsLgRTkGB.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eQyA76IcF3B6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dfa"></p><p>It's been three years since the launch of the Kickstarter campaign for the&nbsp;Double Fine Adventure&mdash;the game that would become Broken Age. According&nbsp;<a href="http://www.doublefine.com/news/comments/the_double_fine_adventure_documentary_goes_public/" target="_blank">to the studio</a>, the result of that campaign is just now reaching its conclusion. Broken Age Act 2 is imminent, and that means an end for both the game <em>and </em>the documentary of its making.</p><p>Whatever your opinion of Broken Age's first act (for the record, I loved it), or the looooong wait for Act 2, the documentary&mdash;created by Two-Player Productions&mdash;is an eye-opening series. It's an honest portrayal of creative development, and a enlightening look at the hurdles and challenges of game creation. It's also being made public.</p><p>Currently, there are three episodes available for non-backers to watch:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zVwg-9WL3dE?list=PLIhLvue17Sd7F6pU2ByRRb0igiI-WKk3D" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Additional episodes will be uploaded every Tuesday and Thursday. Alternatively, the full series is&nbsp;<a href="http://adventure.doublefine.com/" target="_blank">available to purchase</a> for an "Early Bird price" of $10. That includes all current episodes at 1080p, plus a bunch of bonus extras when the series has finished.</p> Wolfenstein: The Old Blood announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-old-blood-announced/Standalone prequel takes B.J. back to Castle Wolfenstein.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-old-blood-announced/FPSNewsWolfenstein: The Old Blood <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gQWwBc7KQLSs.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WeL3JFdMjh3V.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="ROW Sniper"></p><p>Wolfenstein: The New Order was one of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-love-combat-in-wolfenstein-the-new-order/" target="_blank">my highlights</a> of last year, and so it's good to hear that we'll soon be getting&nbsp;more of it. Bethesda has just announced Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, an expansion-sized standalone prequel that sees Blazkowicz return to the titular castle.</p><p>Why? Let's ask the press release:</p><p><em>"</em><em>The year is 1946 and the Nazis are on the brink of winning World War II. In an effort to turn the tide in the Allies’ favour, B.J. Blazkowicz must embark on an epic, two-part mission deep within Bavaria. Part one of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood&mdash;Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves&mdash;pits BJ Blazkowicz against a maniacal prison warden as he breaks into Castle Wolfenstein in an attempt to steal the coordinates to General Deathshead’s compound. In part two&mdash;The Dark Secrets of Helga Von Schabbs&mdash;our hero's search for the coordinates leads him to the city of Wulfburg where an obsessed Nazi archaeologist is exhuming mysterious artefacts that threaten to unleash a dark and ancient power."</em></p><p>The trailer looks like heaps of campy fun, and reveals the humble&nbsp;pipe to be 2015's emerging weapon of choice.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/i7g6Nqe9DvA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Wolfenstein: The Old Blood will be out for PC on May 5, and will cost £15/$20.</p> Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will release September 15 on PChttp://www.pcgamer.com/metal-gear-solid-v-the-phantom-pain-will-release-september-15-on-pc/Two week delay for MGS 5's PC version.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:17:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/metal-gear-solid-v-the-phantom-pain-will-release-september-15-on-pc/ActionMetal Gear Solid V: The Phantom PainNewsStealth <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8DOSkxIMTByt.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QfDlpSkRQ7Q1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mgsv Mgo Tga 11 Web"></p><p>Yesterday, the release date of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain leaked like a soggy cardboard box. Now, as part of Konami's official announcement, it transpires that the September 1 date applies only to the consoles. On PC, MGS5 is being held back for two weeks. We'll get our hands on Kojima's latest on September 15.</p><p>It's not a massive delay&mdash;it's certainly nothing like the wait we had to endure for Ground Zeroes. The Steam version will also include the "Day 1 Edition" DLC at launch, which contains the following:</p><ul> <li>Adam-ska Special Handgun</li><li>Personal Ballistic Shield (Silver)</li><li>Cardboard Box (Wetland)</li><li>Fatigues (Blue Urban Snake Costume)</li><li>METAL GEAR ONLINE XP BOOST</li></ul><p>The Phantom Pain is an exciting prospect. In it, you'll take Big Boss across a series of open-world environments, recruiting soldiers and gathering items to expand Boss's Mother Base haven. Ground Zeroes was a great showcase for the series' new focus on systemic open-area stealth, and the idea of that in a much bigger environment is something I can't wait to try.</p><p><del>It won't be cheap, though. Konami has announced that, just like the PS4 and Xbox One versions, MGS 5 will cost £60 on PC.</del></p><p><strong>Update:&nbsp;</strong>I'm getting conflicting reports on the price. The original press release stated £60 for the Steam version, with no US dollar price listed. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.konami.jp/mgs5/tpp/en/products/index.php5" target="_blank">updated Konami website</a> says $60 for Steam, with no pound sterling price listed. I've contacted Konami for clarification.</p> New footage of The Witcher 3 journeys out of GDChttp://www.pcgamer.com/new-footage-of-the-witcher-3-journeys-out-of-gdc/Geralt kills some wolves as Nvidia demonstrate their streaming tech.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 12:18:52 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/new-footage-of-the-witcher-3-journeys-out-of-gdc/GDC 2015NewsRPGThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QQUKoJRuIyg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Hey, it's some new footage of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This one foregoes the usual terse conversation section and gets straight to the wolf killing, followed closely by some man killing. It's probably a good indication of the moment-to-moment combat we can expect from the RPG sequel.</p><p>Before everyone starts shouting "downgrade," as PC fans are wont to do, it's worth remembering that this footage was re-uploaded&nbsp;from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/nvidia/b/632355495" target="_blank">Nvidia's Twitch stream</a>, and was itself demonstrating the streaming capabilities of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidias-next-shield-device-is-a-200-android-console/" target="_blank">Nvidia Grid</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>Not only that, but it's revealed in the video that the game isn't being run on its highest settings. "We're saving this for when you buy the game," says CDPR designer&nbsp;Damien Monnier. "We want you to get a bit of a slap across the face."</p><p>The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is due out on May 19.</p> GTA 5 bolsters online mode ahead of PC launchhttp://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-bolsters-online-mode-ahead-of-pc-launch/New modes and options being added for GTA Online's PC launch.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 11:37:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-bolsters-online-mode-ahead-of-pc-launch/ActionGrand Theft Auto VNewsRockstar Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide trailer exterminates ratshttp://www.pcgamer.com/warhammer-end-times-vermintide-trailer-exterminates-rats/Newfootage shows dark streets and dead rats.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 10:52:28 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/warhammer-end-times-vermintide-trailer-exterminates-rats/FPSGDC 2015NewsWarhammer: End Times – Vermintide <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vn-9ONpZQqU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide is a pretty clunky name, but I guess snappy titles are the last thing on your mind when you're facing down an apocalyptic horde of man-rats. A metaphorical tide of vermin, if you will.</p><p>You can get a brief idea of what such a tide might look like in the above teaser trailer for Fatshark's co-op FP, er, B. That's first-person bludgeoner.</p><p>For more on Vermintide, check out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/warhammer-end-times-vermintide-preview-building-a-better-mouse-trap/" target="_blank">Evan's first-look preview</a>.</p> Nvidia's next Shield device is a $200 Android consolehttp://www.pcgamer.com/nvidias-next-shield-device-is-a-200-android-console/The console, launching in May, will be able to use Nvidia GRID to stream games from the cloud.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 08:08:32 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidias-next-shield-device-is-a-200-android-console/GDC 2015HardwareNewsNvidiaNvidia Shield <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/j57TvbPLSyan.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6TN-G0IS2l7B.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="SHIELD_and_SHIELD_controller copy"></p><p>Nvidia held a press conference at GDC on Tuesday to announce "the world's first Android TV console," the $200 Nvidia Shield. No, not&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-shield-review/">that Nvidia Shield from 2013</a>.&nbsp;And no, not&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-shield-tablet-review/">the Nvidia Shield Tablet from 2014</a>, either. The new Shield is a slicker looking piece of hardware, but is built for the living room instead of being conveniently portable like the last two devices to bear the same name. It's also running Nvidia's latest mobile GPU, the Tegra X1, which uses the same Maxwell GPU architecture as Nvidia's latest graphics cards.</p><p>Nvidia claims some big things for the Shield. It can play 4K content. It can play console-caliber games. That is, console games from the Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 generation, like Doom 3: BFG Edition, Crysis 3, and Borderlands: The Pre Sequel (which ran at about 20 frames per second in an on-stage demo. To be fair, it's still unfinished).&nbsp;</p><p>The Shield has 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and a slew of connectivity options: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0.</p><p>The company says more than 50 games "optimized for Shield"&nbsp;will be available for the platform at launch in May. Remember, those are Android games, and while Nvidia's list does include the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight, Android ports of AAA games are still fairly rare.</p><p>To pull most of the big games onto the Shield, Nvidia's expanding its long-in-beta&nbsp;<a href="http://shield.nvidia.com/grid-game-streaming">GRID program</a> into a publicly available subscription service. GRID is an on-demand streaming service which uses servers full of Nvidia GPUs to render games, encode the data as a video stream, and send it to your home via the Internet, so you can play a demanding game on limited hardware. Nvidia CEO&nbsp;Jen-Hsun Huang said the company has been working for years to shave off latency in the cloud gaming system.</p><p>GRID will have free and paid subscription models. No word on pricing.&nbsp;Paid subscribers will be able to stream games at 1080p, 60 fps. And subscribers will also be able to buy fully-priced new releases to stream.</p><p>If the ideas of an Android console and a cloud gaming solution sound familiar to you, despite Nvidia's "world's first" claims, that's because they should: we've seen these same ideas played out with the Ouya and OnLive, though neither had Nvidia's money or engineering prowess. We love it when Nvidia puts its full might behind developing new hardware to push gaming technology forward, but there's not much here you can't do with your PC already. There's not much here you couldn't do with a gaming PC five years ago.</p><p>The Shield system goes on sale in May for $200, with a controller included. A remote that you can talk to for Google voice controls and an aluminum stand for holding the system upright will be sold separately.</p> Why is Dust2 so popular? Veteran CS:GO mapmakers answerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/why-is-dust2-so-popular-and-other-questions-answered-by-veteran-csgo-mapmakers/I pulled the creators of de_cachein front of a camera to get them talking about the state of CS:GO's esports scene and the immortality of de_dust2.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 05:18:42 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/why-is-dust2-so-popular-and-other-questions-answered-by-veteran-csgo-mapmakers/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveFPSGDC 2015interviewMust ReadVideo <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/r8SAll8xpTU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>This year's catalog of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gdconf.com/">GDC</a> panels included&nbsp;some&nbsp;Counter-Strike:&nbsp;"<a href="http://schedule.gdconf.com/session/community-level-design-for-competitive-csgo">Community Level Design for Competitive CS:GO</a>" a series of words that are alarmingly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/triggernometry/">up my alley</a>.&nbsp;There was no way I wasn't missing&nbsp;a panel dedicated to competitive CS:GO,&nbsp;especially when retired Counter-Strike pro player&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/salgarozzo">Sal "Volcano" Garozzo</a> and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/fmpone">Shawn "FMPONE" Snelling</a> (who&nbsp;we've&nbsp;featured previously on our site in the series "<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/building-crown-part-one-the-first-look-at-the-next-big-counter-strike-go-competitive-map/">Building Crown</a>") were doing the panelin'.</p><p>I'm still writing up my notes and recorded audio&nbsp;from the presentation, which I'll share soon in a separate&nbsp;story. After the panel, though, I pulled Garozzo and Snelling in front of a camera&nbsp;to get them talking about the state of CS:GO's esports scene and the immortality of de_dust2, likely&nbsp;the most-played map in the history of gaming.</p> Watch Nvidia's GDC livestream here [it's over]http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-nvidias-gdc-livestream-here/Nvidia's press conference at GDC begins at 7 PM Pacific.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 02:58:48 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-nvidias-gdc-livestream-here/HardwareNvidia <p> Nvidia's got an announcement or two at this year's Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, and the stream kicks off at 7 PM Pacific.</p><p> <strong>Update: </strong>The stream is over, but you can watch the full VOD below.</p> <object bgcolor="#000000" data="http://www.twitch.tv/swflibs/TwitchPlayer.swf" height="378" id="clip_embed_player_flash" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620"><param name="movie" value="http://www.twitch.tv/swflibs/TwitchPlayer.swf"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><param name="allowNetworking" value="all"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="flashvars" value="channel=nvidia&amp;auto_play=false&amp;start_volume=25&amp;videoId=a632355495&amp;device_id=cfcbc5f7d064d755"></object> Hyper Light Drifter hands-on: Distilling design down to the good methhttp://www.pcgamer.com/hyper-light-drifter-hands-on-distilling-design-down-to-the-good-meth/plus Heart Machine on the current confusion surrounding crowd funding.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:45:48 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hyper-light-drifter-hands-on-distilling-design-down-to-the-good-meth/ActionHyper Light DrifterPreviewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/x7BLo01XR8a2.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WfLAzQ7JV0EE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hyper Light Drifter" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>Given that hardly a week goes by without some new crowdfunding car crash to wring our hands over, it’s a relief to meet a team which seems to have its shit entirely together. At this year’s GDC I met with <a href="https://twitter.com/heartmachinez">Alex Preston</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/teknopants">Beau Blyth</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/teddydief">Teddy Diefenbach</a> to find out how Heart Machine’s <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hyper-light-drifter-is-a-beautiful-high-octane-brawler/">hotly-tipped</a> and <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1661802484/hyper-light-drifter">heavily-backed</a> Hyper Light Drifter is coming along. When I saw the game at the same event a year ago, only <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hyper-light-drifter-preview/">the co-op horde mode</a> was playable. The story stuff, in which the eponymous Drifter searches the land of Buried Time for the cure to a mysterious disease, remained under wraps.</p><p>It was clear even then, though, that the crunchy combat and ultra-stylish animation made Hyper Light Drifter stand out, and feel like more than just another pixel art nostalgia trip. Yes, the game nods vigorously at classic 16-bit JRPGs, but it’s fresh and modern too. It’s also pretty hard. This time we did sample the single-player mode, as PC Gamer editor Samuel Roberts and I took it in turns to explore the top-down vividly coloured landscape whilst gunning down and chopping up the local fauna, passing the controller each time one of us died. Which was often.</p><p>The exact illness that ails the Drifter isn’t clear, but it must be bad given the number of aliens he’s willing to kill for the cure. “There’s not a lot of heroism in this story,” notes Preston. “It’s a very selfish story ultimately.”&nbsp;Or maybe the Drifter just likes watching their death animations, which are all gasping mouths, spurting blood, and clawing claws. Wonderfully evocative, given the deliberately limited palette. The weapons we get to try also have a consistently pleasing heft and plenty of variety. I particularly liked the reflective rail gun, which enables you to line up Paul Newman-style trick shots, whilst my colleague prefered landing massive splattery crits using the short-range blunderbuss.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/x4BWfyEZReu6.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uf7tE5Y5EliI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hyper Light Drifter new 2"></p><p>Smartly, for the sake of both balance and encounter diversity, you can’t just sit back and blast creatures into their constituent pixels. Ammo is stingily limited, and to replenish it you need to use your dash to get close and perform sword kills. Dash also functions as your Ninja&nbsp;Gaiden-style dodge, and you’d better get good with it if you don’t want to get known as the Hyper Dead Drifter. Samuel observed that the core of the combat is essentially “running away”, but I think, once mastered, you’ll be flitting around the battlefield chopping heads and popping shots between judicious dashes.</p><p>Balancing difficulty on a game like this, without an enormous QA department, requires innovative approaches. Particularly as the people making the game are, inevitably, the best players at it, and therefore not necessarily best placed to judge what’s easy versus what’s annoying. Last September saw a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hyper-light-drifter-backers-getting-three-day-preview-build-next-weekend/">three-day preview build</a> go out to Hyper Light Drifter’s backers, and more recently the team used students on a university game design course as their guinea pigs. One of the key pieces of feedback, which is heavily analytics driven, was that typical players were taking a lot longer to explore than the Heart Machine team had expected. This emboldened them to actually cut some content, on the basis they’d rather go for an all-killer, no-filler approach. “I would rather have a polished experience than a long experience,” says Preston, “and I think most people would.” </p><p>This has meant losing some material that was either deemed extraneous or not as effective as the best bits. Preston describes the process as distilling Hyper Light Drifter down to “a more refined, pure crystal meth version, rather than having it blown out everywhere.” </p><p>I note that that no-one wants to play the bad meth. “No!” says Preston. “Nobody wants the coke cut with baking soda. We want the pure Colombian.” Diefenbach laughs and queries: “Pure Colombian meth?” “No, coke!” replies Preston. “I switched drug metaphors.”</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/x0NgoirmSsiM.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0N069_eWTfRg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hyper Light Drifter new 3" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>What I don’t expect will get cut are the boss encounters. We saw two, and both seemed fun and, putting it politely, quite challenging. In the first, Samuel was repeatedly crushed and frozen by a giant green crystalline queen. In the second, with Preston manning the controller, a giant cybertoad thing vomited up scuttling enemies. The sound effect isn’t in yet though, so Preston provided an a&nbsp;cappella BLAAAAAARG each time the animation happened. Such is life on one of the highest profile indie games currently in development. </p><p>Once we’re done playing, I ask the three of them if, given the increasing scrutiny on crowdfunded games, they feel any additional pressure to deliver a game that satisfies the backers’ expectations. “I don’t feel pressure,” says Blyth, whose credits include Samurai Gunn, and who genuinely seems completely relaxed. “Our community is very positive and Alex puts a lot of work into checking it and keeping up with people. Whenever we've had to push stuff [back], people have been like ‘yeah, we good. You’re just trying to make it better.’” </p><p>“I wouldn't say pressure,” adds Diefenbach. “I think responsibility for sure. If I didn't feel like we had a handle on it, that would be a big problem because keeping the Kickstarter ecosystem alive is important. Maybe not necessarily to our game, because we have our funding already, but to our colleagues and other people. And, you know, if we ever wanted to kickstart something else, keeping accountability as part of that community is super important. If the floor falls out then that hurts a lot of indie development.”</p><p>“I think people found that Kickstarter is not just a pre-order system,” says Preston.</p><p>“I think people still think it’s a pre-order system,” says Blyth, laughing.</p><p>Communication with the backers is obviously key. It’s when developers go quiet that the horses get startled. “I think people are starting to become a little more wary of no-names,” says Preston, “or people that they can’t necessarily trust, because there’s been failures and scams here and there. Not just in games. With crowd-funding you have to be able to trust the people you put your money towards.”</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Gy3W7q70SkKj.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/W1QIQpT9SVAN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hyper Light Drifter new 1"></p><p>Diefenbach believes that many of the current problems with crowdfunding stem from misperception. “There this conflict between what Kickstarter eponymously is supposed to be&mdash;which is a way to get a project started&mdash;and what it has become, in terms of audience expectation and how it actually works, which is [the idea] that you’re funding the whole project. So that’s why people are confused as to whether it’s a pre-order or just supporting&mdash;and there are risks, because in the regular games industry, with a publisher or anyone else who’s funding, you don’t fund the whole game upfront. You establish a whole game budget, but then you fund a little bit and then you do milestones.”</p><p>The release date for Hyper Light Drifter has always been kept deliberately loose. ‘Early 2015’ has become just ‘2015’, but from what we saw the game appears to be in rude health. The team sound confident that it will be out at some point in the second half of the year. “Yeah, we’re working hard to do 2015,” says Preston. “We have our schedule set and we’re just working our goddamn asses off making it.” </p><p>The focus now is on polish and fine-tuning to ensure the atmosphere and story come across as intended. Not that they’re making it easy on themselves. The game will feature no words whatsoever, even in the menus. There will be a few cut-scenes to introduce more complex concepts, but again, all entirely wordless. Diefenbach grins when I ask him whether they just hate writers as he’s walking us out. I don’t think that’s really the case though. I think the Heart Machine team knows that retaining a sense of mystery is a big part of what makes Hyper Light Drifter feel special. When it comes to being&nbsp;badass&nbsp;in outer space, maybe less really is more.</p> Source 2 coming, will be "free to content developers"http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-announces-source-2-will-release-it-for-free-to-content-developers/Source 2 on the way, will support Vulkan for cross-platform development.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:24:55 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-announces-source-2-will-release-it-for-free-to-content-developers/GDC 2015NewsSourceValve <p>Valve has officially announced that the&nbsp;Source engine, the technology it first used for&nbsp;Counter-Strike: Source and&nbsp;Half-Life 2 in 2004, is getting a successor. Source 2 (<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/source-2-tools-teased-in-dota-2-update/">which we've actually known about for quite a while</a>)&nbsp;will be "available for free to content developers," according to&nbsp;Valve's Jay Stelly. "This combined with recent announcements by Epic and Unity will help continue the PCs dominance as the premiere content authoring platform."</p><p>It's not clear if Source 2 will be 'free-to-use' like Unreal Engine, which charges royalties on revenue, or if "content developers" excludes certain entities. We do know that it's targeted at both developers and modders.</p><p>"With Source 2, our focus is increasing creator productivity," said Stelly, according to the press release. "Given how important user generated content is becoming, Source 2 is designed not for just the professional developer, but enabling gamers themselves to participate in the creation and development of their favorite games."</p><p>Valve also announced a&nbsp;Vulkan-compatible version of the engine. Vulkan is a cross-platform graphics API formerly called 'Next Generation OpenGL.' Support for Vulkan is in line with Valve's push to get PC gaming away from Microsoft's DirectX API and&nbsp;onto&nbsp;Linux.</p><p>That's all they wrote about Source 2&nbsp;(in the press release they sent us), so we don't know yet when Source 2 will be available, or what exactly the business model may be.&nbsp;Valve has directed us to a currently empty URL for more (<a href="http://www.steampowered.com/universe">www.steampowered.com/universe</a>), so that's no help just yet. We've reached out to Valve with questions, and should be able to follow-up on the news soon.</p> Valve announces streaming box and SteamVR for Novemberhttp://www.pcgamer.com/valve-announces-50-steam-link-streaming-box-and-steamvr-for-november-release/Valve announces a product for in-home streaming, coming this November.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:10:16 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-announces-50-steam-link-streaming-box-and-steamvr-for-november-release/GDC 2015HardwareNewsSteamSteam In-Home StreamingSteam MachineSteamOSSteamVRValve <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xKOco3kdRduc.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yhRrtaVwiegu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="steam inhome streaming"></p><p> Ahead of its SteamVR demos at GDC 2015 this week, Valve just announced a slew of new Steam-related goodies, including Source 2 and a new product called Steam Link.</p><p> According to a press release, "Steam Machines, Windows PCs, Macs, and Linux PCs will be able to take advantage of" Steam Link, which "allows you to stream all your Steam content from any PC or Steam Machine on the same home network. Supporting 1080p at 60Hz with low latency, Steam Link will be available this November for $49.99, and available with a Steam Controller for an additional $49.99 in the US (worldwide pricing to be released closer to launch)."</p><p> Steam Link sounds an awful lot like a low-power streaming box designed to serve as a living room&nbsp;client for Valve's&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-in-home-streaming/">Steam In-Home streaming technology</a>. At $50, it'll be one of the most affordable streaming options around, but will, of course, require a gaming PC powerful enough to run and stream the games.</p><p> The press release also notes that Steam Machines from Alienware and Falcon Northwest are at GDC, with Steam Machines being released this November.</p><p> Valve's VR headset, with partner HTC, will ship "to consumers by the end of the year." Developer headsets will be available this spring.</p> ​Heat Signature hands-on: Embracing the voidhttp://www.pcgamer.com/heat-signature-hands-on-embracing-the-void/Tim and Samuel got to play Heat Signature at GDC, a procedurally generatedspace piracy game.Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:04:59 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/heat-signature-hands-on-embracing-the-void/GDC 2015Heat SignaturePreviews <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZXIg5-UOQNGn.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hxXMUE3tHJqb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Heat Signature" style="background-color: initial;"></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">The players</h5><p>Samuel and Tim got a chance to play an early build of Heat Signature at this year's GDC.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/f_DatjBVROyM.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AfbzSJ44UAQQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hs Sam Roberts"><strong>Samuel Roberts, Editor</strong></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YB6hi_eHSN-O.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/k5GalZ1Xdvkg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tim Clark" style="background-color: initial;"><b style="background-color: initial;">Tim Clark, Global Editor-in-chief&nbsp;</b></p></div><p> <strong>Samuel Roberts:</strong> The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/heat-signature-hands-on-with-the-stealthy-deep-space-smuggler-sim/">last time I saw Heat Signature</a>, Tom Francis’s impressive procedurally-generated space heist game, I just about got to grips with its simple mission structure. Players dock their pod on these little green chambers floating through space, receive an objective, then go off to try and land on a larger enemy ship to perform some kind of criminal activity: usually collecting something illegally. The cycle then begins again. Each ship is randomly generated, so you never know exactly what you’re facing when you dock. You can steal these bigger ships, too, and pilot them through the galaxy. It’s like a 2D space sandbox to some extent.</p><p> This time, I had more of a feeling for the combat, which isn't a million miles away from Hotline Miami in being top down, mouse-controlled with a basic melee attack and weapons to collect. It’s a bit tricky to get at first, but the arc of receiving your next target, swiftly docking with a ship, knocking someone out, stealing something then silently blasting off into space feels really strong. Of course, I’m saying that like me or you pulled all that off without a hitch, which is just blatantly untrue, Tim. It took us both a while to understand exactly how Heat Signature works. A lot of hilarious failure with intermittent success.</p><p> <strong>Tim Clark:</strong> I knew from the get-go that my sausage fingers were going to betray me when it came to lining up the little pod with target airlocks. Despite the fact it’s actually pretty forgiving in terms of the collision detection, I felt a terrible sense of performance anxiety as I clanged off hull after hull. It was a bit like failing an interstellar driving test, only with the creator of the entire universe holding the clipboard. However, once I got used to dabbing the thrusters a bit more conservatively, the get-mission/board-ship loop which Sam mentions began felt very moreish.</p><p> Heat Signature being a resolutely systems-driven game, the really fun stuff often happens with little warning. During one mission, I’d barely stepped inside the ship I was meant to be hijacking when it came under fierce attack from another vessel. There was no time to parse what was going on before the hull had been cracked open and the crew had been sucked out to meet&nbsp;the chilly kiss of the void. Luckily, (relatively speaking),&nbsp;I hadn't been shot by any of the guards, so I wasn't bleeding out&mdash;but I was alone and adrift. Essentially the movie Gravity,&nbsp;but recreated with a few dozen pixels.</p><p> Hitting tab enables you to switch back&nbsp;to controlling your pod, then zoom back to collect yourself. I got pretty good at this part, because whenever you’re shot whilst boarding, the guard who did the deed will carry your body to the airlock and toss it out like a bin bag. In space, no one can hear you complain about recycling properly.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sEYvkFQ3SsiY.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/q5wXuC34mytg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Heat Signature 2"></p><p> <strong>Samuel: </strong>The ship coming under attack with you inside and subsequent recreation of Gravity was actually hilarious, Tim. It underlined how fun the elements of Heat Signature are when thrown together like that. Nothing even close to it happened in the rest of what was a pretty short demo, which bodes well for the chances of amusing, random chaos kicking off during ordinary missions in the finished game.</p><p> With the variety of your arsenal, too, there’s room for experimentation in blowing things up. Detonation charges can blow spaceships in half when&nbsp;placed properly, and with a bunch of them in my inventory, I enjoyed irresponsibly planting them and then watching everything in the ship (including myself) get sucked out&nbsp;into the atmosphere. That sort of player-generated fun has a lot of mileage to me. You could fire a gun and attract a group of enemies, then detonate a room with them all inside to send them tumbling into space. I was a cowardly Hotline Miami player who constantly lured out groups of enemies with gunshots before beating them to death. This sort of tactic therefore appeals to me.</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Ship Generation Concept Image</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/J7dbw0E6QCyB.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/a0dACbeP6Gay.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ship Generation Types"><i style="background-color: initial;">Click the arrows to enlarge.</i></p><p>A concept image showing possible different&nbsp;styles for&nbsp;random&nbsp;ship generation.</p> </div><p> I’m wondering how you found the combat, Tim. Basic melee attacks charge in a line, and you really don’t have much of a chance when facing the enemy head-on. This is, in every sense, a stealth game.</p><p> <strong>Tim: </strong>Well, the disclaimer here is that I haven’t sunk the insane amount of hours into Hotline Miami that you have. So, you took to smashing the guards’ skulls in with a wrench like a duck to a bloodbath. Meanwhile, I soon realised that I was going to have to lean heavily on stealth over combat to get any sort of piracy business done. I liked the fact that once onboard you can loiter in the airlock for a couple of seconds, while sketching out your plan for how to get to the objective.</p><p> One thing I’m keen to learn more about is how the reward system will work. You can find ship upgrades, like improved coolant to help evade those pesky heat detectors, and additional detonation packs for blowing sections of ships away, but I’d be keen to be able to find some more substantial rewards, either at random or for tackling really tricky missions. I guess there’s a tension with replayability here, and not wanting players to feel punished for losing their stuff, because Tom suggests he expect the average life in Heat Signature to not last hugely long. So that maybe renders significant loot rewards pointless if you’re going to be dead before you’ve had much of a chance to use them. Do you think the structure seems compelling for long-term play?</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DkKSJWJ4TiqI.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9iUMYah2_7QT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Heat Signature 3"></p><p> <strong>Samuel:</strong> I think that those&nbsp;short lifespans actually make the upgrades seem more precious. Enjoy them, because they’ll soon be gone! Tom teased other elements that’ll encourage long-time play as well, which hold promise for the longer-term structure of Heat Signature. They’re not in the game yet, but he wants to include a series of characters who you randomly encounter and unlock, who then have individual one-off missions, sort of like short stories within the galaxy that flesh out the fiction. He cited a revenge tale as an example, so that to me indicates that he’s thinking ahead to what the player will be doing maybe five or six hours in. These instances would not be repeatable, which will make them feel special when they do happen.</p><p> <strong>Tim: </strong>Yeah, that stuff did sound interesting&mdash;and, contradicting myself here, I like the idea that if you balls up&nbsp;one of those missions&nbsp;then it’s just gone for that playthrough. I’m also keen to see how the different factions pan out. Tom seems committed to keeping them all human, but with different themes like industrial miners or junkers who cobble their ships together from salvage. He certainly didn't seem sold on the idea of aliens or robots, though the artist who’s coming up with different ship designs has been making a case for them on the basis of the cool ship&nbsp;looks he’s come up with.</p><p> <strong>Samuel: </strong>I like the idea of robots and aliens too, because I’m an enormous child, but I also like that Francis is treating it as a serious sci-fi universe. Spaceships and stealing things. What’s not to love?</p><p> <em>Disclosure: Tom Francis is a former staff member of PC Gamer, though he never worked directly with either Sam or Tim. While Sam has been in the same pub as Tom a couple of times in the past year, they’ve both made it very clear that they don’t like each other. You can sign up to potentially be a Heat Signature tester <a href="http://gunpointgame.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=332b53efcc5be9a48a5c44ea8&amp;id=f68b263ad6">here</a>.</em></p> Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider moves on to something newhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-lead-writer-david-gaider-moves-on-to-something-new/Gaider is leaving Dragon Age, but staying at BioWare.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 23:34:57 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-lead-writer-david-gaider-moves-on-to-something-new/BiowareDavid GaiderDragon AgeNewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/unjzZ7YYQCu2.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oXKYMBaTcxXq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dragon Age: Inquisition"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/david-gaider/">David Gaider</a>, the lead writer on Dragon Age games from <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-origins/">Origins</a> to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-2/">Inquisition</a>&mdash;that is to say, all of them&mdash;has announced that he's leaving the series to work on a new BioWare project. </p><p>"So a bit of news: I have decided leave Dragon Age and move onto a new, upcoming BioWare project (which I can't discuss)," Gaider <a href="https://twitter.com/davidgaider/status/572890115661418497">tweeted</a> earlier this afternoon. "While it's hard to leave Dragon Age behind, 10 years is a long time to work on any one project. I decided it was time for something new."</p><p>Dragon Age wasn't Gaider's only contribution to the BioWare oeuvre. He also served as the lead writer on the Neverwinter Nights expansions Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark, and worked as a designer on Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn and the Throne of Bhaal expansion, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.</p><p>Taking his place at the helm will be BioWare veteran Patrick Weekes, who's no slouch in the fiction-crafting department either: He has writing credits on all the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mass-effect-3/">Mass Effect</a> games and expansions, as well as Dragon Age: Inquisition. "I'm honored to be continuing the Dragon Age story that @davidgaider set in motion, and I look forward to adding a lot of sexy unicorns now," Weekes <a href="https://twitter.com/PatrickWeekes/status/572892012598448129">tweeted</a>.</p><p>Neither Gaider nor BioWare have offered any hint as to what this mysterious new project might be, but given that he's made the announcement about the move, I'd expect something to be revealed fairly soon. We'll keep you posted.</p> How Divinity: Original Sin almost bankrupted Larian Studioshttp://www.pcgamer.com/how-divinity-original-sin-almost-bankrupted-larian-studios/Larian founder Swen Vincke recounts the enormous financial hardships the studio went through to release Divinity: Original Sin.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 22:53:06 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-divinity-original-sin-almost-bankrupted-larian-studios/Divinity: Original SinGDC 2015Larian StudiosRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/q4iwdd-fTvuO.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kgxWUuEdUP1g.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Divinity"></p><p>Larian Studios has been trying to make&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-original-sin/" target="_blank">Divinity: Original Sin</a>, in one form or another, since 1997. Founder Swen Vincke gave a great post-mortem on the development of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-original-sin-studio-is-working-on-two-new-rpgs/">one of our favorite games of 2014</a>, focusing more on the business side of game development than the creative side. Or, more specifically, how business and creative clash and overlap. To make their dream RPGs in Divinity: Original Sin, Larian went independent, borrowed money from the bank, got outside investors, raised nearly $1 million on Kickstarter, sacrificed Divinity: Dragon Commander and still nearly ran out of funding. If Original Sin hadn’t been a serious success, that could’ve been the end for Larian.</p><p>But it <em>was</em> a success, which Vincke credited to Larian’s philosophy in developing the game: not compromising its vision. He recounted a history of previous games, like Divinity II, that reviewed and sold poorly because they released too early.&nbsp;For Original Sin, Larian built its own technology instead of relying on middleware that couldn’t support the features they wanted. Larian tried to make a co-op RPG for years, dating as far back as 1997, but inevitably cut the feature from multiple projects because it would be too difficult or time-consuming to implement.</p><p>Divinity II's premature release&nbsp;left Larian in debt, so the studio decided to go all-in on its next project. To keep the entire team of 30 or so developers together, they started two projects: the RPG that would become Original Sin, and strategy game&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-dragon-commander/">Dragon Commander</a>. Interestingly, Dragon Commander was meant to be the bigger project, while Original Sin was a smaller RPG that would be released first.</p><p>But Larian fell in love with the RPG, and decided not to release it until it was completely finished. In Vincke’s words, Larian “murdered” Dragon Commander&mdash;releasing it before it was really done&mdash;to focus on Original Sin and pull in some badly needed funds.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TdMTiGFtSCCf.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yEh-HU1gHzyb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Divinity: Original Sin"></p><p>The talk was remarkably candid: Vincke admitted how many mistakes and desperate decisions the studio made to continue developing Divinity: OS as long as possible. They delayed tax payments to spend more on development and spent money they didn’t have to add voice acting to the game later in development. They missed releasing some languages at launch by a day, after crunching on localization for three weeks with an emergency staff of 20 translators. And when Original Sin finally hit Early Access, the developers added thousands of bug fixes to their tracker and made significant gameplay system changes based on player feedback.</p><p>Larian initially had 1.5 million Euros to spend on Divinity: Original Sin and hoped to build it on a budget of 3 million. In the end, the studio spent 4.5 million Euros. After listening to Vincke talk, it seems almost miraculous that Larian didn’t collapse, and that the game made it to release with its openness and co-op multiplayer intact.</p><p>Vincke closed the talk by mentioning that Larian is working on two new RPGs, as we reported yesterday. Original Sin’s success hopefully gives Larian the leeway to develop those games without nearly going bankrupt.</p><p>One final fun tidbit from the talk: Larian’s commitment to open-ended gameplay means you can kill every NPC in Original Sin. If you’re hankering for a replay, consider trying out the mass murderer route.</p> The original Syndicate is Origin's new On the House freebiehttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-original-syndicate-is-origins-new-on-the-house-freebie/Syndicate was released in 1993.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 22:16:45 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-original-syndicate-is-origins-new-on-the-house-freebie/Electronic ArtsNewsOriginRTSSyndicate <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WXhBxHTzRCCd.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bR07ysQDExty.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Syndicate"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-syndicate-was-bad-to-the-bone/">Syndicate</a>&mdash;the Bullfrog one&mdash;was a fantastic, groundbreaking game. But it's 22 years old, and as much as I loved it back in the day, I'm not blind to the likelihood that contemporary gamers might find it tough to get into. That makes it hard to recommend, even with major caveats. But <a href="https://www.origin.com/en-us/store/free-games/on-the-house">now it's free</a>, at least for awhile, and that changes things.</p><p>Syndicate is famously bloody, but I think it's sometimes forgotten that it doesn't portray violence in the name of a good cause. You, as a ladder-climbing corporate executive, literally kidnap people off the streets, forcibly convert them into cyborgs, and then use a steady stream of mind-altering drugs to control their behavior as "agents." (Seriously, have a look at the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_ocoFMYqVg">opening cinematic</a> if you don't believe me.) It was wantonly amoral, and even the most murderous excesses carried no real penalty as long as the job got done.</p><p>That makes it a game worth trying in my book, and even though the standard $5 price tag on <a href="https://www.origin.com/en-us/store/buy/syndicate-plus-origin/pc-download/base-game/standard-edition">Origin</a> is hardly a big investment, free is even better. It's the usual "On the House" deal, meaning that for as long as the offer lasts, you can sang the whole thing at no cost, and keep it forever (or at least until EA pulls the plug on Origin). For some reason, the download is 27MB, which is noteworthy only because the game originally came on four, or maybe five, 3.5" diskettes, meaning it was, at the absolute most, somewhere shy of 7.5MB. </p><p>It runs flawlessly thanks to some pre-configured DOSbox magic (which is probably where that extra 20MB of weight comes from), and it <em>is</em> very dated: The control scheme lacks a number of features we take for granted in modern RTSes, like click-and-drag to select multiple agents. But it's free&mdash;and at that price, you can afford to take a chance.</p> The Flame In The Flood hands-on: Roguelike river survivalhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-flame-in-the-flood-hands-on-roguelike-river-survival/Randomized encounters in the American South.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 22:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-flame-in-the-flood-hands-on-roguelike-river-survival/GDC 2015RoguelikeSurvivalThe Flame in the Flood <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LxKxQvTvSjWv.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eq3XzDAXJR0p.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Scout Bus A"></p><p><a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/molassesflood/the-flame-in-the-flood">The Flame In The Flood</a> is a roguelike and survival hybrid inspired by separate elements of FTL and Don’t Starve. Together, though, this combination feels like something pretty new. A girl called Scout, and her dog, Aesop, make their way down a dangerous river, trying to escape death in the midst of a coming flood. Crafting, setting traps, and finding shelter keeps Scout alive for longer. Crashing your raft into a load of rocks, or attracting the attention of a wolf while looking for somewhere to sleep, though, does not. This Kickstarter project from the minds of several former Irrational staff has a lot of potential and I got a first hands-on with it yesterday.</p><p>“The super quick version is, we wanted to make a game fundamentally about survival, and we wanted to make it about a journey,” says designer Forrest Dowling. “And we very quickly landed on the idea of the river, and the American South, and so on. Those were the initial sparks... travel, survival, very soon after, the river, then the South, just because there's such a great literary history to journeying down a river.”</p><p>I played two sessions of The Flame In The Flood’s GDC demo, which timed out at ten minutes, enough for me to understand the basics of how each playthrough differentiates. You start by a campfire, then climb onto Scout’s raft, which is the cool-looking squashed wreckage of a car. Journeying with the dog, you&nbsp;try to keep the raft afloat by paddling out the way of incoming rocks and other dangers. Along the way down the river, you’ll see settlements where you can dock and gather supplies. Your energy and hydration levels are always trickling down, like most of the survival games regularly finding themselves at the top of the Steam chart, and you might have to resort to desperate measures to keep them up, like drinking water you’re not sure&nbsp;is entirely safe.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lT1jqNv0RQGG.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iCY71q21J4Du.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Flame in the Flood 2"></p><p>The team at The Molasses Flood looked beyond the survival genre for influences on how to endure a harsh environment, too. "[We] look at other games for influence but also try and go to primary sources,” Dowling says. “One thing I've done a lot of research and reading on is just straight-up wilderness survival. Everything that you're finding is based on real-world survival situations and know-how.” One of the more common plants in each area, the cattail, can be used for a bunch of different real-world crafting purposes and perform similar functions in games: Scout can eat it, turn it into insulation for warmer clothing, or use the stalk as a cord for setting traps.</p><p>My first time down the river, I was doing kind of well. I set a snare trap for a rabbit on the first place I landed, then chased the poor bastard into it so I could get a good meal. I stopped off at an abandoned house and got a decent night’s rest. I got back on the boat, left, and avoided objects along the way in the hope that the next piece of land would offer equally kind circumstances. The name of each area is randomly generated, which is a cool touch, and some of the names for these areas&nbsp;will be decided by those who backed The Flame In The Flood's Kickstarter at higher tiers.&nbsp;</p><p>My&nbsp;second time through, my fortune was piss-poor. I crashed my raft and caused serious damage to it&nbsp;really early on, which seemed to make it harder to steer. The first island I landed on, I was greeted by a wolf, which is much bigger than Scout and seems to be one of the game’s primary threats.&nbsp;Dowling mentioned it’s pretty unlucky to encounter one this early, and at this stage in the game Scout&nbsp;can only temporarily ward them off. After taking damage from the creature and a having a&nbsp;fairly pitiful run at gathering supplies, I got back on the damaged raft and headed further downriver. A dark storm kicked off, which took a huge toll on Scout’s energy bars, and I just about made it to the end of the demo without dying of thirst. If the demo wasn't timed, though, I’d almost certainly have died moments later: there was nothing to drink and nowhere to sleep on the&nbsp;island. That’s the gamble you take whenever you dock.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/C05i9V07RmKz.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/t69qBZ-QslFh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Flame in the Flood"></p><p>There’s a nice promised scale to progression in The Flame In The Flood.&nbsp;While this is a permadeath game, you can assign items to Aesop and he can carry them&nbsp;for Scout into the next playthrough.&nbsp;With enough of the right items, you can create traps for wolves, which provide even greater components for building items than the rabbits do early on. These aren’t the only creatures in the game, either, so there’ll be more animals out there to hunt, avoid, or manipulate to help you survive.</p><p>Dowling is expecting players to finish all of the content in roughly three or four hours. The success of The Flame In The Flood depends on how successfully the game randomises these various bits of the world, something that’s impossible to predict&nbsp;when I've only&nbsp;seen a few recurring buildings on each island, like gas stations and wooden houses. I enjoy the feeling of docking at a new location without knowing what threats await, similar to arriving at a new system in FTL, but with the added bonus of a little exploration, too. I look forward to stress testing these variables when The Flame In The Flood reaches its tentative summer release on Early Access.</p> Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is getting split screen co-op after allhttp://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-revelations-2-is-getting-split-screen-co-op-after-all/...and it's in openbeta now.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 21:20:48 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-revelations-2-is-getting-split-screen-co-op-after-all/CapcomHorrorNewsResident Evil Revelations 2 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mWR2on1qTS-L.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MUxK02BePRlu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Resident Evil Revelations 2"></p><p>After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, Capcom has announced it will implement split screen co-op in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-revelations-2/">Resident Evil: Revelations 2</a> for PC.&nbsp;Better still it's accessible now, if you don't mind&nbsp;opting&nbsp;in&nbsp;to&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com//app/287290/discussions/0/610574106414653247/?tscn=1425374559">the open beta</a>. The patch will also address some reported performance issues, according to a Capcom representative posting in the&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com//app/287290/discussions/0/610574106414653247/?tscn=1425374559">Steam forums</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>The&nbsp;mode's&nbsp;unexplained absence&nbsp;caused&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/local-co-op-cut-from-resident-evil-revelations-2-crowd-goes-wild/">a kerfuffle</a> last week, resulting in refunds being extended. That was probably a wise idea on Capcom's part, since it was initially listed as a feature on Steam, though the official line post-launch was that the mode was cut&nbsp;"to ensure a stable user experience across a variety of different PC settings and devices".</p><p>Whatever the case, it's coming. The current open beta is missing some menu options and UI elements, as well as support for non-XInput controllers. You can learn how to access it&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com//app/287290/discussions/0/610574106414653247/?tscn=1425374559">over here</a>, or read our review&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-revelations-2-episode-one-review/">over here</a>, wherein we describe it as a "so-so start".&nbsp;</p> Notch opens up about the Microsoft "sellout"http://www.pcgamer.com/notch-opens-up-about-the-microsoft-sellout/The sale to Microsoft was triggered by last year's blowup over the Minecraft EULA.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 21:02:05 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/notch-opens-up-about-the-microsoft-sellout/Markus PerssonMicrosoftMinecraftMojangNewsNotch <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TKTMUecrR_C-.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_H8BDQtRYD_Z.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Notch thumb"></p><p>It was a tremendous surprise when Markus Persson <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mojang-confirm-sale-to-microsoft-for-2-5-billion-notch-and-other-founders-to-leave/">sold Mojang to Microsoft</a>, not just because it was hard to imagine him walking away from the creation that brought him so much success, but because he did the deal with a company he'd previous held in such disdain. After all, it was only a couple of years prior that he <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/notch-microsoft-stop-ruining-pc-open-platform/">accused Microsoft</a> of "trying to ruin the PC as an open platform." But sometimes people change their minds, and the man they call Notch said in a lengthy and very interesting interview with <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2015/03/03/minecraft-markus-persson-life-after-microsoft-sale/">Forbes</a> that that's exactly what happened here&mdash;and that he's not ashamed of his decision.</p><p>Persson said he'd been having a rough time for quite awhile before the sale, but it was the strong negative reaction to Mojang's announcement about cracking down on the worst of Minecraft EULA violations&mdash;the "<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/notch-defends-mojang-against-literally-worse-than-ea-accusation-following-minecraft-eula-monetization-update/">literally worse than EA</a>" days&mdash;that drove him to <a href="https://twitter.com/notch/status/478766808841732096">tweet</a> his initial interest in selling the company. He said it was originally intended as a "half-joke," but when Microsoft very quickly contacted Mojang CEO Carl Manneh to find out if Persson was serious, the wheels began to turn. Interestingly, Persson said he was never actually involved in the process; negotiations took place entirely between Manneh and Microsoft's Xbox chief Phil Spencer.</p><p>Since the buyout, Persson hasn't been shy with his money, reportedly spending as much as $180,000 in a single night at Las Vegas nightclubs. But he said he's just making up for the time he spent programming when he was in his 20s. "Partying is not a sane way to spend money, but it's fun," he said. "When we were young we did not have a lot of money at all, so I thought, if I ever get rich I'm not going to become one of those boring rich people that doesn't spend money."</p><p>As for the future, he's not concerned about matching, or even approaching, the success of Minecraft. He and Mojang co-founder Jakob Porsér have launched a new venture called Rubberbrain, but he admitted that there's not a lot going on so far. "It’s like a daycare for us," he said. "Grown-up daycare."</p> Mad Max stands on it in Septemberhttp://www.pcgamer.com/mad-max-stands-on-it-in-september/"You want to get out of here? You talk to me."Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:34:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mad-max-stands-on-it-in-september/ActionAvalanche StudiosMad MaxNewsWarner Bros Interactive <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QQKotBbDQOCm.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Q2yap_PGLcQv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mad Max thumb"></p><p>Warner Bros. Interactive has announced that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mad-max/">Mad Max</a>, Avalanche's fuel-injected road trip through the Australian wasteland, will be out in September. Gamers who preorder will be handed the keys to "The Ripper," which in this case is not a post-apocalyptic chainsaw, but a Magnum Opus car body.</p><p>At some point during Mad Max, presumably fairly early on, the man they called Max manages to lose the Interceptor to a gang of skags who, to their credit, don't accidentally blow it up but instead just tow it away to a location unknown. But you can't have a Mad Max game without cars, and so Max, as shown in this <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzQq_dD7nMQ">trailer</a> from last spring, sets out to build another one: his <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnum_opus">magnum opus</a></em>, as it were. One of those machines is The Ripper, which "packs a powerful V8 engine, upgraded exhaust with custom off-road tires, a ramming grill, and a tuned suspension so ti can take on a variety of Wasteland surfaces." </p><p>Warner also revealed the Mad Max box art today (below), which I know isn't particularly relevant in this era of digital everything, but I'm a cardboard aficionado and I think this cover is actually quite good. It eschews the usual "rugged scowly-man" approach that you'd quite naturally expect in favor of something simpler, starker, and much more appropriate for a game about gangs ready to go to war for a tank of juice.&nbsp;Anyway, the bit you do care about: Mad Max will be out on September 1. Find out more at <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnum_opus">MadMaxGame.com</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PAL_Ay9VQdGw.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rN4b2xJGV40i.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mad Mad Box"></p> Unity 5 out now, Personal Version free with no royaltieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/unity-5-out-now-personal-version-free-with-no-royalties/Unity is calling the release a "graphical powerhouse."Tue, 03 Mar 2015 18:54:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/unity-5-out-now-personal-version-free-with-no-royalties/GDC 2015News <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9d22152qQzmO.JPG" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9gFd7XEMbq2A.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Unity Engine 2"></p><p> Unity Technologies announced today that the next version of its 3D game engine and editor is out now. And&nbsp;<a href="http://unity3d.com/5" target="_blank">it is</a>! They were totally&nbsp;telling&nbsp;the truth at the press conference I attended this morning, where Unity co-founder&nbsp;and CTO Joachim Ante called Unity 5 a "massive release."</p><p> The Unity engine has been used for a lot of games, especially indie and mobile games,&nbsp;but I've always thought of it, perhaps unfairly, as 'Unreal-lite.' I've heard lots of great things about cross-platform productivity, and I don't doubt that it's great for developers,&nbsp;but Unity hasn't done as much as Epic to appeal to consumers with neat lighting and shader demos&mdash;i.e. the stuff I can appreciate from a non-technical perspective, because it looks cool. The layman's hype reel.</p><p> This morning, however,&nbsp;terms like "reflection probes" came out in force. Unity 5, says CEO&nbsp;John Riccitiello, is a "graphics powerhouse." We saw a very nice-looking demo (embedded below), which in my opinion (totally divorced from whatever&nbsp;the sophistication of the technology may be),&nbsp;looks nicer&nbsp;than a well-modded Skyrim and a few recent games, but certainly isn't&nbsp;as impressive as one of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO2rM-l-vdQ" target="_blank">UE4's ridiculous (and not-really-seen-in-an-actual-game-yet)&nbsp;demos</a>.&nbsp;As&nbsp;achievable fidelity in an engine popular among small teams, it's very inspiring&mdash;games developed with Unity 5 for PC can look like this, according to&nbsp;Ante.&nbsp;It's definitely much prettier than anything produced with older&nbsp;Unity tech, with improved&nbsp;lighting, physics, and&nbsp;animation among the long list of changes in the release notes.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pXWAsayTFTo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p>Later on, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey took the stage. "The majority of the virtual reality experiences we've seen have been built with Unity technology," he said, leading into a brief talk on their cooperation. "We're trying to make virtual reality available to everyone, not just consumers, but developers."</p><p> To that end, Unity 5 will soon&nbsp;have built in Oculus Rift support. "We've been collaborating for over two years with Unity and the results are awesome." said Luckey. "It is really smooth and seamless now ...&nbsp;we have the ability to preview and publish to GearVR and Rift instantly."</p><p> "We've also made huge gains on performance," he continued, followed by several terms I'd have misspelled if I tried to write them down. I'll take his word for it. Unity and Oculus have had a good relationship for a while, so this collaboration is unsurprising but good news for VR.</p><p> As for making things available to everyone,&nbsp;Unity 5 remains very accessible. With the Professional Edition, developers get everything&nbsp;for $75/month or $1,500 to buy it outright. There are no royalties on games made with it, meaning that&nbsp;it's ultimately much cheaper than the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/unreal-engine-4-is-now-free/">free-to-use Unreal Engine 4</a> (which carries a 5% royalty after $3,000 in sales per quarter),&nbsp;assuming you ship a successful game.</p><p>More exciting is the Personal Edition, which is for educators and&nbsp;developers with revenues or funding&nbsp;under $100,000&mdash;it's&nbsp;completely free with no royalties. It doesn't include everything (<a href="http://unity3d.com/get-unity" target="_blank">see the breakdown here</a>), but certainly everything needed to develop a game. You can download and try the Unity 5 Personal Edition&nbsp;<a href="http://unity3d.com/get-unity/download?ref=personal" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> Shadowrun Online renamed, release date announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/shadowrun-online-renamed-release-date-announced/Shadowrun Online is now known as Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 18:31:43 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/shadowrun-online-renamed-release-date-announced/Cliffhanger ProductionsNewsRPGShadowrun Chronicles: Boston LockdownShadowrun Online <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_E46DUssoPI?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> More than three years after Shadowrun Online was <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/shadowrun-online-announced-high-council-of-elders-aiding-development/">revealed to the world</a>, it finally has a release date, and a swanky new name, too. Developer Cliffhanger Productions said it decided earlier this year to change the title to Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown in order to correct mistaken assumptions that the game is an MMO.</p><p> Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown is a tactical-RPG, separate and distinct from Harebrained Schemes' <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/shadowrun-hong-kong/">Shadowrun games</a>, that pulled in more than $500,000 on <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1964352341/shadowrun-online">Kickstarter</a> in 2012. The original pitch stated that players could go at it entirely on their own, but the focus was clearly on multiplayer, a characteristic that was reflected by its title&mdash;a bit too much, as it turned out.</p><p> "Shadowrun Online has always been a title that invited a wide range of expectations&mdash;some gamers thought it meant we are doing a full-blown MMORPG with a persistent open world, others believed it meant we are doing a free to play browser title," Cliffhanger Managing Director Jan Wagner explained. "The core vision of the game has always focused on experiencing the world of Shadowrun together with your friends and meeting other players, swapping stories and exchanging strategies as well as a creating a space for actual role-playing with others. This to us is the core experience of Pen and paper roleplaying&mdash;a shared imagination and story experience."</p><p> There are multiplayer options, including co-operative play for up to four people and a "live multiplayer hub" with PvP matches, but the campaign is designed to work just as well as a solo experience. Wagner said the new title also reflects Cliffhanger's intent to release more content "evolving from the collective actions of our players" down the road. "They will shape the way the future plot of Shadowrun develops, literally making history in the Shadowrun Universe," she added.</p><p> And, as promised, the release date: Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown, which is actually already available as an Early Access title on <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/267750">Steam</a>, will go into full release on April 28. Get the details at <a href="http://www.shadowrun.com/shadowrun-online/2015/03/03/shadowrun-online-becomes-shadowrun-chronicles-and-sets-launch-date/">Shadowrun.com</a>.</p> Show Us Your Rig: Offworld Trading Company's Soren Johnsonhttp://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-offworld-trading-companys-soren-johnson/Soren Johnson, Founder of Mohawk Games and former Lead Designer of Civ 4, shows us his triple monitor setup.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 18:26:28 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-offworld-trading-companys-soren-johnson/Mohawk GamesOffworld Trading Companyshow us your rig <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eLR3B321RH2u.JPG" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1t-39eV9OC-1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Soren Johnson 4"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Show us your rig</h5> <p> Each week&nbsp;on&nbsp;<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 as they show us the systems they use to work and play. </p> </div><p> Soren Johnson,&nbsp;CEO and Founder of Mohawk Games currently working on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/offworld-trading-company/" target="_blank">Offworld Trading Company</a>, was previously the Lead Designer of Civilization 4. Needless to say, he's a man who knows his strategy games. With a three monitor setup and laptops on hand, Johnson has made sure he always has the screen&nbsp;space he needs to skype, code, and test at the same time with room to spare. He was kind enough to take some time and&nbsp;tell us about his&nbsp;PC.</p><h4>What's in your PC?</h4><ul> <li>CPU: Intel Core i7-4770 @ 3.40 GHz</li><li>Motherboard: MSI B85-G41 PC Mate</li> <li>GPU: MSI&nbsp;Nvidia Geforce GTX 760</li> <li>RAM: 32GB</li> <li>Storage: Corsair Neutron GTX 480GB&nbsp;SSD &amp; WD My Passport HDD</li><li>PSU: Corsair HX650</li> <li>Monitors: One Dell U3014 and two Dell U2412M</li> <li>OS: Windows 8.1 (64-bit)</li> <li>Keyboard: Steel Series mechanical keyboard</li> <li>Mouse: Logitech G9X</li> <li>Webcam: Logitech C270</li></ul><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xlzHQ0iSQOuZ.JPG" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9k0aveuJKdzK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Soren Johnson 3"></p><h4>What's the most interesting/unique part of your setup?</h4><p> I love having a three monitor setup with the huge monitor in the middle and two vertical monitors on the side. I'm always optimizing where exactly I should put my IDE and my browser and my Skype and my Unity editor so that I can see everything at once.</p><h4>What's always within arm's reach on your desk?</h4><p> Within arm's reach, I've got my mic and headset for streaming and various power cords for my other laptops in case I need to test multiplayer.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NrgD3Pr5QpuZ.JPG" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cSLu0JUg-Tg0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Soren Johnson 2"></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Upright view</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hhfyhksWTUqq.JPG" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/D0e2y1fEFIat.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Soren Johnson 1"></p></div><h4>What are you playing right now?</h4><p> Besides Offworld, I'm playing a lot of Darkest Dungeon, which has a wonderful combat system, which places a great deal of emphasis on character placement, coupled with an interesting metagame that keeps challenging you to balance your party because half of them might be too stressed to head out right now.</p><h4>What's your favorite game and why?</h4><p> My favorite game is the original Sid Meier's Pirates! which I played mostly on my Amiga 500. That game had an amazing blend of fun mini-games, dynamic narrative, and strategic planning that made playing a pirate's life meaningful and compelling.</p> The console exclusives that must come to PChttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-console-exclusives-that-must-come-to-pc/Andy rounds up the biggest console exclusives that deserve to be on PC.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:14:11 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-console-exclusives-that-must-come-to-pc/ Firewatch footage offers 17 minutes of canyons and conversationhttp://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch-footage-offers-17-minutes-of-canyons-and-conversation/Also: caves,clothing and creepy figures.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:03:54 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch-footage-offers-17-minutes-of-canyons-and-conversation/AdventurefirewatchNews <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_5lyHZIzW8A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>This,&nbsp;courtesy of IGN, is 17 minutes of footage from Campo Santo's Firewatch. In it, you see protagonist Henry do a spot of light orienteering, er, 'confiscate' some whisky, and have some charming back-and-forth banter&nbsp;with his supervisor.</p><p>The tone seems considered and natural, and there's just a hint of mystery. Campo Santo, of course, is lead by the the former Telltale devs who headed up the&nbsp;first season of The Walking Dead.</p><p>Evan interviewed Campo Santo's Jake Rodkin and Chris Remo at last year's PAX Prime. You can&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/firewatch-interview-campo-santo-details-its-first-project/" target="_blank">watch that&nbsp;discussion&nbsp;here</a>.</p> Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain release date leaks [Update]http://www.pcgamer.com/metal-gear-solid-5-the-phantom-pain-release-date-leaks/MGS5 is coming this year.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:00:41 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/metal-gear-solid-5-the-phantom-pain-release-date-leaks/ActionMetal Gear Solid V: The Phantom PainMust ReadNews <p><strong>Update: </strong>The PC release date will be September 15. See&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/metal-gear-solid-v-the-phantom-pain-will-release-september-15-on-pc/" target="_blank">our latest story</a> for details.</p><p><strong>Original:&nbsp;</strong>It looks as though the release date for Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain has leaked out a little early.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1002982" target="_blank">NeoGaf</a> folks seem to have fished an MGS5 video file out of IGN's infrastructure which features an outro mentioning a "world wide release" on September 1.</p><p>The video shows Hideo&nbsp;Kojima talking up the game. At the end he describes the canon of MGS games he's worked on as "a single Metal Gear saga".</p><p>"With Metal Gear Solid 5, I'm finally closing the loop on that saga. Even if the Metal Gear saga continues, to me this is the last Metal Gear."</p><p>He always says that.</p><p>The killer screengrab is below, in case the video's disappeared when you read this. An official announcement is due this week during GDC.</p><p>That's quite a while to wait, but luckily we've compiled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/six-games-to-play-while-you-wait-for-mgs-5/">a collection of games</a> that scratch the MGS itch. If you're new to the whole Metal Gear Solid phenomenon,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/a-beginners-guide-to-metal-gear-solid-v/">allow Andy to introduce you</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mlIUm4MMQ02Z.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/adT5bk2dAjTd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mgs5"></p> Dragon Age: Inquisition's fifth patch will add party storagehttp://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisitions-fifth-patch-will-add-party-storage/Because Vivienne's hat is too fancy to throw away.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:09:46 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisitions-fifth-patch-will-add-party-storage/Dragon Age: InquisitionNewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/D2x_ejhRQqW2.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Yu646S-QlZM8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pixel Boost - Dragon Age Inquisition - 13"></p><p>There are many moral quandaries to tackle in Dragon Age: Inquisition. What should you do with <em>those </em>jerks? Who should you tell do <em>that </em>thing? Will you collect three bear claws? The most crucial, in my view, is what should I do with Vivenne's hat?&nbsp;It's a nice hat, you see. But it's also a bit useless. Later on, you will get other hats that will be imbued with better stats. So what, do you just throw out Vivienne's hat? Or do you commit to wasting a space in your inventory purely because&mdash;well, it's a <i style="background-color: initial;">really </i>nice hat.</p><p>With Dragon Age: Inquisition's fifth patch, there's a third option: put that hat in party storage. And other items, too, I guess. Located in Skyhold's Undercroft, the party storage lets you stash your sort-of-unwanted-but-not-wholly-unwanted stuff.</p><p>You can see the full list of changes and fixes below. The patch is currently designated as "upcoming".</p><ul><li>PC Specific: While we’ve added the ability to toggle mouse look, this feature is still under development and does not act optimally under all conditions. We are continuing to work on this feature to improve it for future releases.</li><li>Fixed an issue that allowed characters to take damage while using the Counterstrike ability.</li><li>Updated abilities to function correctly with front armor rating.</li><li>Fixed the Charging Bull ability so that AI-controlled characters no longer overshoot their target.</li><li>Removed the initial barrier that spellbinders receive when spawned.</li><li>Added an option to control the font size of subtitles.</li><li>Improved archer AI so that they choose to enter melee combat less often.</li><li>Fixed the save game card image for elf mages.</li><li>Fixed an issue that caused certain operations to disappear from the war table without direct player interaction.</li><li>Fixed a crash after use of a Tactician’s Renewal amulet in Skyhold.</li><li>Fixed a conversation where Leliana references being with the Warden to face the Archdemon when she was set to have died in the imported Dragon Age Keep world state.</li><li>Fixed a case where movement audio was muted after a level transition.</li><li>Fixed a case where music unintentionally played after a level transition.</li><li>Fixed a loot exploit.</li><li>Fixed a case where the Quarry Quandry quest could be prevented from being completed.</li><li>Added party storage to the Undercroft in Skyhold.</li><li>Improved stability.</li><li>Fixed the True Grit perk to apply to all party members.</li><li>Fixed the issue where Qunari Inquisitors were able to equip the Inquisition Battlemage armor.</li><li>Fixed an exploit where certain abilities could be used multiple times before the cooldown was started.</li><li>Fixed an exploit with Explosive Shot where indirect hits were not causing the ability to cool down and reduce stamina.</li><li>Fixed cases of the new-item icon appearing on old items after salvaging in multiplayer.</li></ul> Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns hands-on – entering the junglehttp://www.pcgamer.com/guild-wars-2-heart-of-thorns-hands-on-entering-the-jungle/We try out Guild Wars 2's new zone, and get to grips with the new Masteries system and the PvP game mode.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/guild-wars-2-heart-of-thorns-hands-on-entering-the-jungle/ArenaNetGuild Wars 2MMOpreview <p><em><br></em></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Sc4WPp6NQji_.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gyAcYvIu8K_r.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="B Team"></p><p><em>Last week, I got a chance&nbsp;to play&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/guild-wars-2-heart-of-thorns-interview/" target="_blank"><em>Heart of Thorns</em></a><em>,&nbsp;Guild Wars 2's first&nbsp;expansion. The demo featured both&nbsp;a small chunk of the new PvE area and the Strongholds PvP game mode. Here are my impressions of the MMO's&nbsp;upcoming&nbsp;jungle excursion.</em></p><p><strong>What's happening?</strong></p><p>The demo begins with the cutscene from the end of "Season 2". To recap, this:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rRRfS9Gp0xQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> The pact fleet, on journeying deep into the jungle to take down Mordremoth, find themselves under attack. Mordy's a jungle dragon, and that gives him control over Syvari, the game's playable race of plant people. The Sylvari turn on their companions, and the fleet's airships crash into the jungle canopy. Their leaders&mdash;Trahearne and Destiny's Edge&mdash;are captured. Into this scene of devastation enters the player, and the Living World crew of Marjorie, Kasmeer, Rox et al.</p><p> In the opening story instance, I meet up with Pact soldier Laranthir&mdash;a Sylvari. He tells us that soldiers are being kidnapped by Mordremoth's forces, and requests&nbsp;that we rescue them. Another Pact soldier tells us that Sylvari can't be trusted, and that instead of walking into Laranthir's probable trap, I should go and do something else. This is going to be a key tension in the expansion. Are some Sylvari immune to Mordremoth's influence? If so, which, and why? Laranthir seems trustworthy, and agreeing to his mission reveals that Mordremoth is particularly interested in capturing Sylvari, but what does that mean?</p><p> A bigger question is what happens if the player is Sylvari? It's one thing choosing to help Laranthir as a human, but how would the same&nbsp;scenario play out if the player was equally suspicious? ArenaNet is staying tight-lipped over the exact details, and the demo build wouldn't let me create a Sylvari (or any non-human)&nbsp;character. My hope is that the story extends beyond some alternative dialogue. It's unlikely decisions will be too drastic&mdash;with no open-world PvP it's not as if players could decide to join the dragon's forces&mdash;but it will be a waste if the expansion can't explore that tension in some new and interesting ways.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OA78e6iCQle-.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-I-Vv_P4qRWT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dudes"></p><p><strong> Welcome to the jungle</strong></p><p> After the instance, I'm let loose in a new zone. At least, I'm let loose in a tiny section of the bottom-left of a new zone. Immediately, stuff is happening. I spawn by what the game calls an 'Outpost,' a series of public events centred around a single area that players must protect. First up, killing things. Five huge Mordrem Breechers are roaming around a rocky outcrop. Above us, a parallel event encourages supporting players to grab sniper rifles and provide covering fire. They can't hurt the main targets, but can do huge damage to additionally spawned enemies.</p><p> As the last Breecher is downed, a cutscene plays. Helicopters attempt to fly away, but are cut down by a massive vine that weaves through the rock. Our new job is to grab explosives from the downed choppers to lay at the base of the vine. It's fun, in a chaotic way. A lot of the events channel encounters that will be familiar in the Silverwastes&mdash;the zone introduced during the second half of Season 2. We're beset by Mordrem Wolves, Husks and Trolls, and helped out by a supporting cast of Pact soldiers.</p><p> Once the vine is cleared, the remaining helicopters can transport us to the final event of the cycle. It's a boss fight against a Legendary tier Wyvern on a large metal platform suspended by vines. We spawn above the platform, and use hang-gliders to drift into the fight.</p><p><strong> Who, what and wyvern</strong></p><p> The Wyvern is a challenging boss fight, and all the better for it. There are no special systems in play&mdash;this isn't another Twisted Marionette or Tequatl&mdash;but I'm frequently forced to dodge its napalm-life flame breath. The fire sticks to the metal platforms and continues to burn, reducing the safe space we have to move through. Periodically, the Wyvern takes off and lays down strips of fire, dividing us into sections and making it harder to resurrect downed allies. If that wasn't enough, it will flap its wings&mdash;knocking down players and pushing them back. More than once, I'm caught by this attack too close to the edge and knocked off the platform.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RNOPMpKbRIir.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YH3TZShY6d8O.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wyvern"></p><p> Through a combined effort (and after more than a couple of&nbsp;deaths) we take the Wyvern down. A helicopter arrives, and I&nbsp;can return to the main map by speaking to either of two NPCs. One is Laranthir, the other the anti-Sylvari soldier. It's hard to say if this decision has any lasting impact, but it seems as if ArenaNet is trying to bring story threads out of the instances and into the open world. Speaking to either Pact member has the same effect, so the choice is a statement of player intent. Do you stand with the Sylvari or not?</p><p><strong> Jungle is massive</strong></p><p> Back in the demo area, I take to wandering around. ArenaNet has talked about the three biomes of the jungle, and it's possible to get a sense of how this will manifest. Above me is the canopy, filled with the wreckage of Pact airships. Below, thick vegetation hides ruins and small angry lizards. Both lead to areas outside of the demo area, and so there was only the suggestion of how they might look.</p><p> It's likely that each layer will become more distinct the further players get into the zone. Hopefully that'll give the hang-glider some more use. In the demo, it provided little more than a showy entrance&mdash;a choice between gliding a small distance or running around an only slightly longer path. In fact, the only place in the demo that necessitated its use&mdash;the jump down to the Wyvern's platform&mdash;gave all players a hang-glider prompt whether they'd unlocked it or not.</p><p> Completing the Outpost event chain unlocks an "Adventure" challenge. These are new, but can be thought of as a solo version of Guild Missions. On activating the adventure, I'm equipped with a flamethrower and asked to torch a number of tendrils before the timer runs out. It's a basic challenge mode, but one that makes for a passable diversion.</p><p><em>On the next page, Masteries, the Revenant and PvP.</em></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PdI1V1d7SliC.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cfXOyy9kr-C3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gliding 2"></p><p><strong>Mastery and Commander</strong></p><p>The other icon on the map is for a Mastery Point. I can't find it, which suggests these are the map's new collectibles&mdash;a sort of Vista mixed with Skill Point. In Heart of Thorns, clicking on the XP bar opens up the mastery menu. Here, players can select their desired upgrade, and any XP gained from that moment goes towards filling its unlock bar. Once unlocked, it can be bought with Mastery points.</p><p>This, ArenaNet says, is GW2's new end game system. Masteries are divided between Heart of Thorns specific unlocks&mdash;hang-gliders, mushroom jumping and bonuses against the jungle's enemies&mdash;and more general game-wide upgrades. Each mastery is divided up into multiple stages, each providing additional bonuses but costing more points. In this sense, it functions a little like the existing world-versus-world skills.</p><p>Only two game-wide masteries are in the demo build: Fractal Attunement Mastery and Legendary Precursor Crafting. The latter will allow players to craft precursors&mdash;exotic weapons that form the basis for <a href="http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Legendary_weapon">legendaries</a>. It gives players a more sure-fire way to acquire the weapons&mdash;currently it's a complete gamble.&nbsp;The&nbsp;final&nbsp;stage&nbsp;of&nbsp;the mastery&nbsp;line&nbsp;unlocks the&nbsp;new precursor weapons being introduced for&nbsp;Heart of Thorns.</p><p><strong>Misty eyed</strong></p><p>Heart of Thorns' new profession is the Revenant&mdash;a heavy-armoured class that works a bit like the elementalist, only with history instead of magic. Like the elementalist, Revenants can't weapon-swap during combat. Instead, they equip and swap between "legends" of the past. Two legends can be equipped at a time, and in the demo I had access to both Mallyx the Unyielding and Jalis Ironhammer.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/znptybTsRZeL.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6ZHL7DKsh2PT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Intro"></p><p>With a press of F1 I'm able to switch the currently active legend. Legends define the last five positions on the hotbar&mdash;healing, utility and elite skills. With Jalis, that means hammer stuff. He's a dwarf king, and his stone-based attacks let me channel a pair of hammers to continuously circle around me, smacking everything in their way. He's simple, fun and offers options that can increase the survivability of me and my allies.</p><p>Mallyx is a more complicated legend. To play him effectively, I need to collect conditions. He's not very powerful in and of himself, but his healing skill is more potent if I'm loaded with negative status effects. All of his skills work in a similar way&mdash;providing extra bonuses the more debuffs I've accrued. It's a high-risk style, and one that could lead to some dramatic turnarounds for those who learn to play it well.</p><p>The other legends weren't available, but if they can provide additional systems as divergent as the two on offer, the Revenant should offer lots of scope for tailoring builds to specific play styles. Put another way,&nbsp;I may be about to make my first heavy character.</p><p><strong>Home of Champions</strong></p><p>My final stop was Champion's Dusk, the new PvP map. It's Guild Wars 2's first Strongholds map&mdash;a mode I detailed <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/guild-wars-2-heart-of-thorns-stronghold/">last month</a>. Each team's objective is to break into their opponent's stronghold and kill their lord. To do this, they need to collect supply from the centre of the map, and spend it on NPC units back at their barracks. It's tactical, and also somewhat chaotic. The action moves much faster than I expected&mdash;even our longest matches only take ten minutes or so.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/meY1pnnlQIiN.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mrfQW32h9Jn9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Stronghold 2"></p><p>In one game, the enemy goes fully on the offensive. They spawn multiple doorbreakers, and babysit them to our gate. It's over quickly, our team too spread out and focused on individual objectives to mount a coordinated defence. It becomes clear that the mode rewards group play&mdash;either of&nbsp;existing parties or the planned Guild-versus-Guild matchmaking. Our less organised team is destroyed.</p><p>We find more success in our other game. This one goes on longer, and we're able to control the middle supply line, preventing our opponents from calling in NPCs. I play a roaming&nbsp;Thief, and help out by&nbsp;picking off lone enemy players and protecting allies while they channel the hero summon that spawns periodically throughout the map. If there's one thing I'm unsure about, it's the team size. Five players per team is too few to utilise all of the map's systems, and while planning around that is a key part of a team's tactics, it makes it difficult to rally from a weak early game.</p><p>What I've played is a promising sign that Heart of Thorns will be a meaningful expansion. The small demo area felt like a continuation of the design lessons learned over the last two years of updates. If ArenaNet continue to expand and escalate the available events throughout the new area, Heart of Thorns should be an expansion that provides plenty of difficult content for players to tackle. There are still questions&mdash;of the full size of the expansion, of how much its challenge will progress beyond what players have previously experienced, and of whether the new events hold up to repetition in any meaningful sense. If these concerns are answered, Heart of Thorns will be a great showcase for this new phase of Guild Wars 2's life.</p> Unreal Tournament update adds first high-res textured maphttp://www.pcgamer.com/unreal-tournament-update-adds-first-high-res-textured-map/Outpost 23 appears in an update that all can play.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:05:48 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/unreal-tournament-update-adds-first-high-res-textured-map/FPSGDC 2015NewsUnreal Tournament <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JPqep4AwSUGz.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eIOxmfU_qeai.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="malcolmFlak04"></p><p>Unreal Engine&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/unreal-engine-4-is-now-free/" target="_blank">is free now</a>, and that doesn't just mean a powerful tool to create your own games. You've also got a tool to make Epic's one, too. The collaborative community project that is the new Unreal Tournament has been opened up for all as a result of UE4's dropped subscription. To celebrate, it's received a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.unrealtournament.com/blog/unreal-tournament-at-gdc/" target="_blank">new update</a> that adds&nbsp;the game's first high-res textured map: Outpost 23.</p><p>Here's a quick look at the map, courtesy of Zaccubus:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/a4tNU2jgTZU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>It's a pretty thing, especially in the way that its crisp aesthetic is scuffed and muddied. It's not pristine, which&nbsp;gives the map a more lived-in feel that enhances the look.</p><p>The update also adds new characters and introduces the UT marketplace. Yes, there's a hat store now. That's how you know it's a free-to-play PC shooter.</p><p>To play Unreal Tournament you just need to&nbsp;<a href="https://forums.unrealtournament.com/showthread.php?12011-Unreal-Tournament-Pre-Alpha-Playable-Build" target="_blank">go here</a>, sign up for an account, and download the Epic Launcher. To make content for the new Unreal Tournament you probably have to do complicated things that I don't understand. Tutorials explaining&nbsp;what those things are can be found&nbsp;<a href="https://learn.unrealtournament.com/tutorials">here</a>.</p> Shovel Knight free expansion 'Plague of Shadows' announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/shovel-knight-free-expansion-plague-of-shadows-announced/Drop the shovel and grab a beaker for Shovel Knight's first expansion.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:25:17 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/shovel-knight-free-expansion-plague-of-shadows-announced/IndieNewsPlatformerShovel Knight <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Pvi9zLWRTyq8.gif" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Pvi9zLWRTyq8.gif" alt="Shovel Knight POS"></p><p>Thanks to the magic of Kickstarter stretch goals, charming platformer&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/shovel-knight-review/">Shovel Knight</a> is getting a free expansion. This time, you're playing as a baddie.</p><p>Yacht Club Games is making good on the promise to deliver playable boss knights, and up&nbsp;first to the protagonist spot is Plague Knight. The alchemist will star in the Plague of Shadows update, in a quest to become the head of the Order of No Quarter.</p><p>Rather than a simple reskin, Plague of Shadows will add new story and systems. Plague Knight's skill set includes&nbsp;explosives, bomb jumps, and alchemy&mdash;with a new crafting system that will allow him to turn loot into equipment and power-ups.</p><p>Plague of Shadows will also bring new objectives and bosses, new routes through levels, and new 'Feats'.</p><p>The expansion is due out in Q2 2015, which is fancy talk for 'Spring-ish'.</p> The Long Dark director: "don't put players in the driver seat"http://www.pcgamer.com/the-long-dark-director-dont-put-players-in-the-driver-seat/Creative director talks the challenges of balancing development with community input.Tue, 03 Mar 2015 01:03:13 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-long-dark-director-dont-put-players-in-the-driver-seat/GDC 2015Hinterland GamesNewsSurvivalThe Long Dark <div><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xJw0d__xTzmd.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IcReyFJtTcVP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Long Dark update"></p></div><div><p>While you don’t have to click far online to notice <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/only-25-percent-of-early-access-games-have-made-it-to-full-release-eedar-says/">growing discontent</a> with Early Access and Kickstarter, it’s harder to gauge how developers are reacting to it. In a GDC talk today, Hinterland Studio founder and creative director <a href="https://twitter.com/raphlife">Raphael van Lierop</a> chatted about the studio’s community-informed approach to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-long-dark/">The Long Dark</a>, which has its feet in both camps: it was a successful Kickstarter campaign which made the transition to Early Access.</p><p>“The risk [with Early Access] is that you’re living with other people’s mistakes, as well as your own,” van Lierop said. “One of the eye-opening experiences on Early Access is how much hostility there is towards it on Steam community.</p><p>“[The attitude is] that they’ve been burned so many times, and you’re probably going to burn them too, and sometimes they haven’t even played the game – they’ve come to reinforce their anger about other Early Access projects. You’re inheriting all of that when you move to the platform.”</p><p>The Long Dark is among the most polished and fully-featured Early Access games, and that’s in part thanks to Hinterland’s approach to community feedback. While the very model depends on this feedback, van Lierop said the studio seeks “guidance, not direction” from funders and Early Access participants.</p><p>“The community doesn’t belong in the driver seat,” van Lierop said. “[The community] is a tool, a data point, a voice to listen to, but they haven’t spent years of their lives doing this job. I know it’s an unpopular way of approaching it, but my opinion is that if you do [allow the community in the driver seat], you’re not going to have as strong an expression of your creative vision. We’re getting a lot of benefit from the community and we’re not about ignoring the community, you just incorporate the ideas.</p><p>“It’s not our job to make the game the community wants. It is our job to make our community want what we have made.”</p><p>It's important for a studio not to take online feedback to heart, and to maintain an internal consultative approach.&nbsp;“There can be so much feedback that at some point you think ‘I don’t know what to do there are so many people talking to me’," van Lierop said. </p><p>"Sometimes the community’s feedback can start to sway your team, because they’re reading the forums too, and if they see something in the forums about their particular area of the game, they might be really influenced by that and want to change it. But it’s important to talk about it and not be pulled back and forth by one or ten forum comments."</p><p>Van Lierop also confirmed that when The Long Dark launches proper later this year, the story-driven game mode will launch alongside it.</p></div> How game devs avoid Twitter drama, according to Daybreakhttp://www.pcgamer.com/how-game-devs-avoid-twitter-drama-according-to-daybreak/How does a studio with multiple living games empower its developers to be vocal without over-promising or adding fuel to flame wars?Tue, 03 Mar 2015 00:25:10 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-game-devs-avoid-twitter-drama-according-to-daybreak/Daybreak Game CompanyEverQuest NextH1Z1NewsPlanetside 2 <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NzN8O3IpQ_qV.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tUIzqFiF7noC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Jones" class=""><figcaption>Tony Jones,&nbsp;senior community relations manager at Daybreak.</figcaption></figure><p> The reputation of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sony-online-entertainment-sold-becomes-daybreak-game-company/">Daybreak Game Company</a>, the studio formerly known as Sony Online Entertainment, took a hit in February when it&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/daybreak-games-formerly-sony-online-entertainment-making-layoffs/">laid off</a> employees shortly after&nbsp;changing ownership. Something that we hope Daybreak will continue to have a good reputation for, though, is its transparent approach to development. Its president,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/j_smedley">John Smedley</a>, is one of the more outspoken, honest, and engaged company heads in the industry. The same could be said of its current and former leads:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/mhigby">Matt Higby</a> of PlanetSide 2,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/davegeorgeson">David Georgeson</a> of EverQuest Next, and the H1Z1 dev team have all had a big presence on Reddit, Twitter, or on in-house livestreams.&nbsp;</p><p> How does a studio with multiple living games empower its developers to be vocal without over-promising or adding fuel to flame wars? Daybreak's Tony Jones, senior community relations manager, shed light on Daybreak's approach to social media during his panel at GDC this week, "Balancing Community Management With Transparent Development."&nbsp;</p><p> In the talk, Jones emphasized a few key policy points. "Training is crucial for development teams. Putting your teams on Twitter with no training, you might as well just hand them a loaded gun. The ability to say whatever we want when we want to say it is extraordinarily dangerous." Jones also said that it isn't the community manager's job to police developers' tweets, but to be constantly listening and provide insight and advice. "It's not that you try to restrict what they're saying, it's that you try and slow them down and think about what they're saying before they say it. Everyone's tone should be the same. Don't have 'grumpy cat' on one side and, you know, super hyper guy on the other side. You want to kind of make that middle ground and make them appear as a cohesive team. Show them the common pitfalls. Show them what trolling looks like. Show them what kind of things... maybe you don't want to tweet a lot about Gamergate, maybe you can tweet a statement and just kind of walk away from it. Things that get them into trouble later on, things that may cause them additional grief. Maybe they want to tweet about Gamergate, just tell them what's going to happen in advance." </p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BYOP0pnpTvmn.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XJR0nAusYIu1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Jones Gdc Panel"> </p><p> During the Q&amp;A section of the talk, Jones gave an anecdote when asked how he'd respond to a developer who's saying too much&mdash;or the wrong thing&mdash;on Twitter. "When you're working with a developer who says things that you're not particularly wanting them to say, there's a couple different things they should know. First of all, if it's already out there, it's already out there. I had an associate programmer who got really engaged with at Gamergate.&nbsp;It started out as a 'Hey, you may want to be careful with this' and it got to be a 'Hey, dial it back a bit.'&nbsp;You can put a disclaimer in your 'about' section all day, but [players]&nbsp;still know that you're an associate programmer on this game.&nbsp;Part of it's training, part of it is just building up a relationship and asking them. They're making your job harder. I'm not saying go to them and beg and cry, I'm not saying that's worked&mdash;but it has. Making them aware of the potential impact of what they do I think is crucial."&nbsp;</p><p> To Jones, it's also important that multiple developers&nbsp;aren't competing with one another or contradicting on social media. "Your Twitter followers are not a Gamerscore. It is all about your team. Everyone should be working together, not jockeying for position on Twitter or on Reddit. Everyone works together, succeeds and fails together as a team, that includes the community management team."</p><p>One of the big challenges&nbsp;that many studios are facing, according to Jones,&nbsp;is how much information to give players. "There's plenty of risks and rewards to it."</p> Divinity dev will announce two new RPGs "whenever they're ready"http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-original-sin-developer-will-announce-two-new-rpgs-whenever-theyre-ready/They might announce them at E3, or not.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:35:46 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-original-sin-developer-will-announce-two-new-rpgs-whenever-theyre-ready/Divinity: Original SinGDC 2015NewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5bQZx-XeRsih.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/imNryz4enJZL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Larian Divinity Talk"></p><p>In his GDC talk on the development of Divinity: Original Sin,&nbsp;Larian Studios founder Swen Vincke gave us a hint of what we can expect from Larian's next game. Or, rather, its next two games. If you missed the news back in December, Divinity: Original Sin was successful enough&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-original-sin-studio-is-working-on-two-new-rpgs/">for Larian to start working on two new RPGs</a> using the same engine. Vincke casually said that&nbsp;Larian may reveal those games at E3 in a few months&mdash;or in 2016. "Whenever they're ready," he said.</p><p>Larian is expanding to develop its next games more quickly. And a couple themes from Vincke's talk may offer some clues as to what Larian will (or, more likely, won't) be doing with its future RPGs. Vincke pays close competition to his competitors, both to avoid release overlap (he suggested not releasing an epic open world game starring a man looking for someone&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-delayed-again/">this May</a>, for example) and thematic similarities. Don't expect the next Divinity to be too similar to Dragon Age, Pillars of Eternity, or The Witcher 3.</p><p>And no matter when Larian gets around to announcing its next RPGs, don't be surprised if their release dates get pushed back a time or two. For Divinity: Original Sin, Larian went all-in, pumping more and more money and time into the game instead of compromising their vision and releasing it early.&nbsp;That strategy&nbsp;nearly bankrupted the studio, but&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-09-12-larian-ponders-next-game-as-divinity-original-sin-sells-500k">it paid off&nbsp;in more than 500,000 sales</a>. With Original Sin's success under its belt, we wouldn't expect to see Larian's next RPGs until they're completely ready.</p> Interplay announces remastered ClayFighter, coming in 2016http://www.pcgamer.com/interplay-announces-remastered-clayfighter-coming-in-2016/The original ClayFighter came out in 1993.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 22:58:39 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/interplay-announces-remastered-clayfighter-coming-in-2016/InterplayNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PewpfWEETLOc.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1xBC4-RzsZK4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Clayfighter Snesbox"></p><p>ClayFighter was originally released in 1993 for the SNES, then ported to the Sega Genesis a year later. The characters, with names like Bad Mr. Frosty, Blue Suede Goo, and Ickybod Clay, were all rendered in claymation-style graphics, and there was a fairly strong element of humor to it. It was also pretty well-liked: According to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ClayFighter">Wikipedia</a>, EGM named it "Best Street Fighter Wannabe" of 1993 and said the Genesis version was solid too. And now the original publisher, Interplay, is bringing it back.</p><p>Interplay announced that a remastered version of ClayFighter is being developed in partnership with Drip Drop Games and is&nbsp;expected to be ready for release in 2016. It will include more than 20 characters and 20 "familiar" environments, unique "Claytalities," and new mechanics like double-jumping, air-dashing, counters, and reversals.</p><p>It sounds good, though it's worth pointing out that&nbsp;Interplay&nbsp;hasn't had much success with new projects in recent years. The 2012 <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/interplay-black-isle-studios/">resurrection</a> of Black Isle Studios hasn't gone anywhere, and a recent Kickstarter campaign for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/freespace-tabletop-game-will-gauge-interest-in-a-new-pc-release/">FreeSpace Tactics</a>, a tabletop miniatures game, <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/606843645/freespace-tactics">fell far short</a> of its funding goal. I also haven't had any success finding references to Drip Drop Games, which I assume is the studio that's actually doing the remastering, so it's impossible to say what it brings to the party. Interplay isn't crowdfunding the updated ClayFighter, so there's no risk to anyone else, but if you're the easily disappointed sort you might want to wait awhile before getting your hopes up.</p> The Talos Principle started as Serious Sam 4http://www.pcgamer.com/the-talos-principle-started-as-serious-sam-4/The puzzler came about whileCroteamwasbrainstorming Serious Sammechanics.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 22:30:19 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-talos-principle-started-as-serious-sam-4/GDC 2015NewsPuzzleThe Talos Principle <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mDmFYZWgQl6L.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/B3HIovyke7_c.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Talos - Lasers"></p><p>Croatian developer Croteam is mostly known for the Serious Sam series of run-and-gun blast-the-shit-out-of-aliens shooters, which is why its puzzler&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-talos-principle/">The Talos Principle</a> was such a surprise. It’s more Portal than Duke Nukem, filled to bursting with puzzles and a challenging philosophical narrative. Again, surprising from the team that made Serious Sam&mdash;especially because The Talos Principle actually began life as Serious Sam 4.</p><p>In a GDC post-mortem for The Talos Principle titled “Reactive Game Development,” Croteam talked about how The Talos Principle spun out of development on the next Serious Sam game. While working on the “jammer” mechanic that eventually found its way into The Talos Principle, the Serious Sam team kept brainstorming new mechanics that seemed like a better fit for a new project. So they decided to start work on a completely new game.</p><p>Croteam’s Alen Ladavac and Davor Hunski stressed how important they think it is to be reactive in game development, because there will always be unforeseen problems or situations or opportunities during development. They said that that’s especially true when developing a wholly new game, rather than a sequel: you can’t know what you want until you see it.</p><p>Croteam’s focus on reactive design informed The Talos Principle throughout the entire development process, starting with internal testing. The team members individually built puzzles, then extensively tested each other’s puzzles and rated them for fun and difficulty. Getting stuck on puzzles in testing led them to The Talos Principle’s nonlinear structure, so that players always have multiple puzzles to tackle. External testing led them to more refinements, as the team cut out redundant puzzles and shortened the game’s Rome segment based on that feedback. They also used automated testing, running a bot through the puzzles, which they say came out to 15,000 human hours of testing.</p><p>Not everything went well&mdash;Croteam acknowledged several mistakes, such as misjudging the time required for localization&mdash;but the key lesson was that getting and reacting to feedback quickly is vital. Had that iterative process not kicked off during the development of Serious Sam 4, The Talos Principle would never have been made.</p> This week’s PC gaming dealshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-game-deals/The best PC gaming deals of the week.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 22:30:00 +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" style="width: 668px;"></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 this week: Our favorite gaming headset, the HyperX Cloud, is currently on sale. You can get 32GB of RAM on sale for $230&nbsp;at Newegg, and&nbsp;the code we've listed&nbsp;below will make it even cheaper. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is already down to $20 at Best Buy, but only if you still have a disc drive on your computer. The Banner Saga and its Deluxe Edition are both half-off on 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" style="width: 668px;"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Acer G226HQL 21.5” monitor</strong> is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009POS0GS?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=deals030215" target="_blank">$87.99 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong></strong>The <strong>BenQ GW2765HT 27" monitor</strong> is <a href="http://fave.co/1K9KgnL" target="_blank">$349.00 on B&amp;H</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>Our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-headsets/" target="_blank">favorite gaming headset</a>, The <strong>HyperX Cloud headset</strong>, is down to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JJNQG98?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=deals030215" target="_blank">$67.49 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>PNY GeForce GTX 780ti 3GB graphics card</strong> is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LZVO2T8?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=deals030215" target="_blank">$419.99 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>AMD A10-Series APU A10-7850K processor</strong> is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H7Z7YMI?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=deals030215" target="_blank">$119.99 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>A set of <strong>four 8GB sticks (32GB total) of G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series DDR3 RAM</strong> is <a href="http://fave.co/1Dylt3y" target="_blank">$230 on Newegg</a> with the code <strong>EMCANNV33</strong></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Seagate 6TB internal desktop hard&nbsp;drive</strong> is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JBJ34WC?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=deals030215" target="_blank">$199.99 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" style="width: 668px; background-color: initial;"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>TitanFall</strong> is down to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DTWEOZ8?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=deals030215" target="_blank">$5.99 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>If you don’t mind physical discs, <strong>Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor </strong>is <a href="http://fave.co/1K9Ggnd" target="_blank">$19.99 on Best Buy’s site</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;</strong>&nbsp;<strong></strong><strong>The Banner Saga</strong> is 50%, down to <a href="http://fave.co/1K9GPNM" target="_blank">$10 on GamersGate</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition</strong> is only <a href="http://fave.co/1K9H6QQ" target="_blank">$2.49 on Green Man Gaming</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Train Simulator 2015</strong> is currently massively discounted, 85% and down to <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/24010/" target="_blank">$8.25 on Steam</a>.<a href="https://www.humblebundle.com"></a></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>If you are a <strong>Battlefield 4</strong> fan, the game’s <strong>premium service</strong> is currently <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EP13M28?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=deals030215" target="_blank">$14.99 on Amazon</a>. This isn’t the actual game, just the premium upgrade, but the base game is also 25% off.</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> Bombshell gameplay revealed in new trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/bombshell-gameplay-revealed-in-new-trailer/There's a new website, too.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 21:05:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/bombshell-gameplay-revealed-in-new-trailer/3D RealmsActionBombshellInterceptor EntertainmentNewsRPG <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/W8A7rDu405g?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment teamed up in early 2014 to make a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/new-duke-nukem-game-from-rise-of-the-triad-dev-to-be-revealed-feb-25/">new Duke Nukem game</a>, a noble aspiration that almost immediately <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gearbox-suing-3d-realms-and-interceptor-over-duke-nukem-mass-destruction-development/">got them sued</a> by Gearbox Entertainment, which apparently wanted to ensure they didn't damage the value of the franchise or something. So 3DR and Interceptor did the obvious thing and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/bombshell-a-new-arpg-borne-out-of-a-duke-nukem-lawsuit/">made the game anyway</a>, but with a brand new character named Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison.</p><p> To be clear, when I say "brand new," I mean pretty much exactly the same: By all appearances, Bombshell is a new take on Nukem, with one of <a href="http://quake.wikia.com/wiki/Tank_Jr.">Tank Jr.'s</a> arms. She drives a big truck with a skull painted on the hood, and her strike-a-pose weapon of choice is a monstrous three-barreled revolver named Loverboy.</p><p> Somewhat more interesting on the "newness" scale is the game itself, which is not an FPS but an isometric action-RPG. "It's a genre that allows us to blend intense storytelling action with player freedom and expression," the developers explained over at <a href="http://www.bombshell.com/">Bombshell.com</a>. "We believe we can add something new to the genre based on our experiences as a studio. Working with a new genre and a fresh pair of eyes allows us to view things from a new perspective."</p><p> Bombshell may not represent the pinnacle of character design originality, but even so I do feel some cautious optimism that it might turn out to be decent. 3D Realms may not have the industry's most sparkling post-90s reputation, but Interceptor did a nice job bringing back <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rise-of-the-triad-review/">Rise of the Triad</a> a couple years ago, so this one might work out too, runaway silliness and all. It's currently slated to come out later this year.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1Gf_8dO4SUK2.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/08kyjPqToQGE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bombshell"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZgGJ8-E0SaeB.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IBKmgB28n7ag.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bombshell"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FSsdvvJfR-Kq.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yrwKA3ehLpTh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bombshell"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vxXBHHJKSVOv.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eWcTkcs0a1IL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bombshell"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BwZRA5X6SBaC.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/srPxYzZYjEvl.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bombshell"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/czMr7jd7TdK3.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0IMZiYgW5Mue.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bombshell"></p> The Stealth Bastard returns to PC in Stealth Inc. 2http://www.pcgamer.com/the-stealth-bastard-returns-to-pc-in-stealth-inc-2/Stealth Inc. 2 was originally released last year as a Wii U exclusive.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:03:10 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-stealth-bastard-returns-to-pc-in-stealth-inc-2/ActionCurve DigitalNewsStealth BastardStealth Inc. 2 <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/w0LybW0jcnI?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> I'm not ashamed to admit that I was initially enamored with Stealth Inc. solely because of its original title, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/stealth-bastard/">Stealth Bastard: Tactical Espionage Arsehole</a>. It was thus especially pleasing that it turned out to have <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/stealth-bastard-review/">a lot more going on</a> than just a ridiculous title (which was later changed to accommodate the more straitlaced console market), and then disappointing when the sequel, Stealth Inc. 2, was released as a Wii U exclusive. But it turns out that exclusivity came with an expiration date.</p><p> "I'm not at GDC this year for the first time in eight years since I'll be demoing Stealth Inc 2 on PlayStation and Xbox at PAX East. :)," Curve Digital Design Director Jonathan Biddle <a href="https://twitter.com/onebitbeyond">tweeted</a> earlier today. "To confirm, Stealth Inc 2 is coming to PC, PS3, PS4, Vita and (for the first time in the series) Xbox One."</p><p> The basic gameplay of Stealth Inc. 2 looks to be very similar to the original, but it does away with the linear level progression of the original in favor of a "Metroidvania-style overworld," and includes a fully-featured level editor. Naturally, there are also a number of new gadgets, puzzles, and terrible ways to die; there will not, however, be a switch to a new (that is to say, old) title.</p><p> "It's be Stealth Inc 2. We can't effectively market a game with two titles!" Biddle <a href="https://twitter.com/onebitbeyond/status/572438032579600384">tweeted</a>. Nor will there be a return of that gloriously juvenile subtitle, either. "The areshole subtitle is... divisive. :)" he added. "Personally, I thought it was funny for a day or two 5 years ago. Now...?"</p><p> Hey, <em>I</em> still think it's funny. Stealth Inc. 2 will be out in early April.</p> Skyrim Steam Workshop mods can now be bigger, betterhttp://www.pcgamer.com/skyrim-steam-workshop-mods-can-now-be-bigger-better/100mb limit is lifted.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:59:04 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/skyrim-steam-workshop-mods-can-now-be-bigger-better/BethesdamoddingModsNewsRPGSkyrimSteam Workshop <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xyDojDyxTNCE.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eL5paK4zVwTH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Skyrim"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim/">Skyrim</a> mods will no longer be limited to a meager&nbsp;100mb if you're pulling them from Steam Workshop, Bethesda announced today.&nbsp;</p><p>This is excellent news, as up until now larger mods– like the city redesign mods, for instance – required several separate downloads. In the future, modders will&nbsp;have the freedom to bundle them together,&nbsp;which means&nbsp;a lot less clicking for you, basically.</p><p>The functionality is in beta this week and can be opted into now (follow&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bethblog.com/2015/03/02/skyrim-workshop-file-limit-is-now-limitless/">these instructions</a>), but from next week the Skyrim launcher will download directly from the Steam Client rather than Workshop.&nbsp;</p><p>None of this matters if you use NexusMods instead of Steam Workshop, but for those who prefer to let Workshop do the hard yards this is great news for the Skyrim modding community, which&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-25-best-skyrim-mods-2/">continues to thrive</a>.&nbsp;</p> World of Warcraft Tokens will let players exchange gold for game time http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warcraft-tokens-will-let-players-exchange-gold-for-game-time/WoW Tokens can be purchased with real money or gold, then sold or exchanged for game time.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:07:55 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warcraft-tokens-will-let-players-exchange-gold-for-game-time/Blizzard EntertainmentMMONewsWorld of Warcraft <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/H2sHye6YQuK4.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rp3bmN2xdbqF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="WoW Tokens"></p><p>Word that Blizzard was considering a tokens-for-time option for World of Warcraft first came to light <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/blizzard-considers-tradable-game-time-tokens-for-world-of-warcraft/">late last year</a>, when Community Manager Micah "Bashiok" Whipple revealed that the studio was looking at ways to make life more convenient for its players. Today it confirmed that the system is on the way in the form of WoW Tokens, a new in-game item that players can buy and sell for gold or real money, and then exchange for 30 days of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warcraft/">World of Warcraft</a> game time.</p><p>WoW Tokens will be purchasable through the World of Warcraft in-game shop, and can be sold on a 'Token exchange' in the Auction House. The value in gold will be "determined dynamically based on supply and demand," and there will be no negotiating prices: Token values are quoted when they're put up for sale and locked in once the sale is committed. The same system applies for Token purchases made through the shop.</p><p>The system is reminiscent of EVE Online's <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/eve-online-lost-cargo/">Plex</a>, but WoW Tokens can be sold for gold only once, after which they become Soulbound and can only be redeemed for game time. Blizzard said the system will give wealthy players something to do with the fortunes they've amassed, but more importantly it will enable players to acquire gold without having to go through third-party gold sellers, which it said are "one of the primary sources of account compromises."</p><p>"Buying gold from third-party services negatively impacts the game experience for everyone. The overwhelming majority of the gold these services provide comes from stolen player accounts, halting the victims’ ability to play the game and contribute to their guilds," it wrote. "On top of this, gold selling companies often farm resources using hack programs, sell fake product codes as a scam, and spam entire realms with ads to buy gold, disrupting the game in very real ways."</p><p>Each region&mdash;Americas (including Australia and New Zealand, for some reason), Europe, Taiwan, Korea, and China&mdash;will have its own Token exchange. There will be no deposits required, nor will the Auction House take a cut from sales. Blizzard didn't indicate when WoW Tokens will go live, saying only that they'll be rolled out in an "upcoming patch." More details will be revealed "at a later date," but for now you can learn all there is to know <a href="http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/18141101/introducing-the-wow-token-3-2-2015">right here</a>. </p> Postcards from Eorzea: Why it's time to revisit Final Fantasy XIVhttp://www.pcgamer.com/postcards-from-eorzea-why-its-time-to-revisit-final-fantasy-xiv/From getting drunk at Bronze Lake to visiting the secret cave of muscle men.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/postcards-from-eorzea-why-its-time-to-revisit-final-fantasy-xiv/Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm RebornMMORPGSquare Enix DayZ creator Dean Hall working on "wild mass multiplayer ideas"http://www.pcgamer.com/dayz-creator-dean-hall-working-on-wild-mass-multiplayer-ideas/Hall is working withImprobable,the technology company behind Bossa Studios' Worlds Adrift.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:11:23 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dayz-creator-dean-hall-working-on-wild-mass-multiplayer-ideas/Dean HallImprobableMMONews <p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/day-z/"></a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Q9ikBfVTTKOP.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/P3ITvN7ab7ry.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dayz"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/day-z/">DayZ</a> creator <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dean-hall/">Dean Hall</a> has big plans for his next project, and even though he hasn't actually said anything about what they are just yet, he did recently offer some interesting insight into how he's going about bringing them to life. In a recent <a href="http://rocketkiwi.tumblr.com/post/112515567676/dayz-made-me-a-great-deal-of-money">blog post</a>, he wrote that he's working with technology company Improbable on a new multiplayer project that he called "the most exhilarating thing I have ever done."</p><p>The decision to walk away from DayZ was extremely difficult, but Hall said he realized during his journey to Mount Everest last summer that its success had put him a position where he could make games "from an entirely economically independent standpoint."</p><p>"I sold DayZ to Bohemia, I was working with them as a contractor, and that contract had ended. I was becoming a problem. The danger was there for me to be a burden on DayZ’s development," he wrote. "My ideas are radical. I have no interest in half measures. I do not want to make safe games. I do not want to make games the way we have been making them. I want to fail as often as I need to in order to deliver the kinds of games that I actually want to play."</p><p>At some point last year, Hall came into contact with Improbable, the company responsible for the technology behind Bossa Studios' early-but-intriguing <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/worlds-adrift-gameplay-video-is-alpha-but-promising/">Worlds Adrift</a>. "My first meeting with Herman Narula, the CEO from Improbable, was one of the most surreal I ever had. The technology I had always wanted and tried to make was finally here," he continued. "DayZ was born out of my aborted attempts to make a database architecture to support my wild mass multiplayer ideas. But now, I didn’t need a ten year plan to make my grand visions of multiplayer come true. I could do it <em>now</em>."</p><p>It's not unusual to hear developers talking about making games they want to play, but Hall's success with DayZ gives the sentiment a little more weight than it otherwise might have. It's also interesting, and even exciting, to hear him speak of Improbable's technology with the same sort of "breaking new ground" breathlessness as Bossa. None of which amounts to a guarantee of a good game, but it's definitely one worth keeping an eye on.</p> Pneuma: Breath of Life reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/pneuma-breath-of-life-review/This puzzler looks great, but is it smart?Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:40:07 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pneuma-breath-of-life-review/Pneuma: Breath of LifePuzzleReviews <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">NEED TO KNOW</h5> <p> <strong></strong><strong>What is it:</strong> A mix of puzzle-solving and philosophy, wrapped in Unreal powered prettiness. It’s a game of perception, of exploring the self, and the mysteries of reality. Sometimes there are levers to pull.<br> <strong>Influenced by:</strong> Portal<br> <strong>Reviewed On:</strong> i7, GeForce 970, 4GB RAM<br> <strong>Alternatively:</strong> The Talos Principle<br> <strong>DRM:</strong> Steam<br> <strong>Price:</strong> £16 / $20<br> <strong>Release:</strong> Out now<br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> Deco Digital<br> <strong>Developer:</strong> Bevel Studios<br> <strong>Link:</strong> <a href="http://www.pneumabreathoflife.com/">Official site</a><br> <strong>Multiplayer:</strong> None</p> </div><p> Socrates, Descartes, Marx&hellip; what a bunch of chumps. If only they’d known that the proper way to discuss philosophy wasn’t arguing over the nature of forms or building metaphors, but recording a couple of hours worth of voiceover and slapping it on top of some pretty puzzle chambers. The Allegory of the Cave? Bah! Call us when it’s in the Unreal engine.</p><p> It’s an approach that can work, as in The Talos Principle, or not, as with most games that have tried it that are not The Talos Principle. Pneuma doesn’t shift the balance much, serving up considerably more gravy than meat in its couple-of-hours running time. It’s the tale of an arrogant, mysterious entity that awakens in a new world and decides that since it all revolves around him, he must be its creator god. Probably. Maybe. Whatever that actually means. “Can I create rocks I cannot lift?” he ponders. “Clearly I can create doors I cannot open!”</p><p> What starts out amusing narration soon loses much of its charm though. There's far too much of it and the tone never really changes. Omnipresent narration can be great when it’s funny, as in The Stanley Parable, but here it’s just mildly amiable babble convinced that it’s more profound than it actually is&mdash;a problem that extends to the ending, with a message that will probably make you think, but not likely much more than “is that it?”</p><p>Where Pneuma does score though is in its setting. A&nbsp;gorgeous series of puzzle rooms host some stunningly pretty early set-pieces, set&nbsp;in a&nbsp;Greco-Roman palace of golds and greens and marble as far as the eyes can see. Speaking of eyes, it also has a clever central gimmick. While there <em>are</em> levers and buttons, most of the puzzles revolve around perception and what you choose to look at. If you can see an eye on a pole it might open a door. Or, it might only open it if you look away and keep your back to it. At another point, a&nbsp;puzzle sets two terminals according to the other's pattern of lights, but changes the pattern every time you look away.&nbsp;It’s an&nbsp;unusual experience, staring at your feet and hobbling around to where you need to get without looking up to actually see the puzzle.</p><p>For the most part, these work well. They’re mostly&nbsp;very easy&mdash;even the slightly-harder bonus puzzles&mdash;but there are&nbsp;enough clever "aha!" moments to give them something extra. Pneuma also makes it a good virtual reality game, with support for the Oculus DK2 built in (though was finicky on mine). Frustrations are rare. The only real tooh-grinding moment involved&nbsp;a corridor where you have to flip over a number of tiles on the floor to make them match. The catch is that they flip when you lose sight of them. The camera’s field of view is pretty wide, and the slightest mouse slip completely scrambles your hard work. This puzzle should be shot into space at the earliest opportunity.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xO5clI1eTJSA.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/THyHAw6Ot6sb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pneuma 6"></p><p>Pneuma's&nbsp;puzzles don’t tend to build on each other much. They&nbsp;offer a refreshing stream of new ideas but no real sense that you’re improving,&nbsp;or piecing together any grander whole. Pneuma will throw out a basic puzzle, as if introducing a new concept, only to immediately move onto as if the concept's already been milked to death. Even the more intimidating challenges soon reveal themselves to be mechanically pretty simple, if occasionally time-consuming.</p><p>The narration does its best to pretend that there’s some deeper element to all this, but there really isn’t&mdash;they’re obstacles, and while there are lines like “What good is a challenge? Does the creator wish to teach or simply entertain?”, the one that kept springing back to mind was “As a god, the rules of the universe are mine to rewrite. Though they’re rather conventional at the moment.” He’s not wrong. The basic concepts are novel and clever, but the puzzle room structure is somewhat tired now, and the reliance on the levers and buttons among&nbsp;the eyeballs suggests that the central observation idea didn't yield as much flexibility as hoped.</p><p>Pneuma certainly isn’t a bad game, but nor is it much more substantial than a leaf being caught on the wind. Its two hours race by, and its god is pleasant enough company despite generally sounding like a first year philosophy student down the pub. Once finished though, there’s oddly little to look back on and remember but a few clever mechanical ideas.</p> Unreal Engine 4 is now freehttp://www.pcgamer.com/unreal-engine-4-is-now-free/No cost upfront; 5% royalty on completion.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:27:35 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/unreal-engine-4-is-now-free/GDC 2015NewsUnreal Engine <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qdvxNiGlRN-Z.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/P7aXM8GZcPKe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Eve"></p><p>Last year, Unreal Engine 4 switched to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/unreal-engine-4-tools-and-source-code-now-available-for-19-monthly-subscription/" target="_blank">$19/month subscription</a> plan. It was the first in a couple of attempts to coax indie developers away from Unity&mdash;and&nbsp;CryEngine&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/crytek-are-also-targeting-indies-announce-royalty-free-cryengine-subscription/" target="_blank">announced their own</a> low cost subscription soon after.</p><p>This year, Epic is going a step further. The studio has just announced that Unreal Engine 4 is available for free, along with all future updates.</p><p>"You can download the engine and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation,"&nbsp;<a href="https://www.unrealengine.com/blog/ue4-is-free" target="_blank">writes Epic's Tim Sweeney</a>.&nbsp;"When you ship a game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. It’s a simple arrangement in which we succeed only when you succeed."</p><p>Later in the announcement, Sweeney hints at what prompted the switch. "The state of Unreal is strong, and we’ve realized that as we take away barriers, more people are able to fulfill their creative visions and shape the future of the medium we love. That’s why we’re taking away the last barrier to entry, and going free."</p><p>According to Sweeney, anyone who has paid for a UE4 subscription will receive $30 credit to spend in the&nbsp;Unreal Engine Marketplace.</p><p>This is potentially a huge deal. Unreal Engine is a flexible tool, and now everybody&nbsp;has free access. Some&mdash;ie. me&mdash;will be too&nbsp;unbearably&nbsp;stupid to do anything with it. Others could potentially create great things, and there's very little that can now stop them.</p> Resident Evil Revelations 2 - Episode One reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-revelations-2-episode-one-review/Resident Evil goes episodic.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:02:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-revelations-2-episode-one-review/ActionHorrorResident Evil Revelations 2: Episode OnereviewSurvival <div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">NEED TO KNOW</h5><p><strong>What is it? </strong>First of a new episodic Resident Evil.<br><strong>Influenced by</strong>&nbsp;George A. Romero, itself<br><strong>Alternatively</strong> Resident Evil 4 Ultimate HD Edition, 85%<br><strong>DRM</strong> Steam<br><strong>Price</strong> £5/$6<br><strong>Release</strong> Out now<br><strong>Publisher</strong> Capcom<br><strong>Developer</strong> Capcom<br><strong style="background-color: initial;">Link&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://residentevil.com">Official site</a></p></div><p>Resident Evil has gone episodic. I’m not really sure why, but it’s good to see Capcom experimenting with a series that has, let’s be honest, lost its way. The first episode of this <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/222480/">Revelations</a> sequel, titled Penal Colony, is out now on Steam, and for £5/$6 you get about two hours of decent, if not mindblowing, Resident Eviling.</p><p>In the first half of Penal Colony you play as Claire Redfield, returning in her first starring role since Dreamcast favourite Code: Veronica. She’s joined by Moira Burton, the foul-mouthed teenage daughter of series mainstay Barry. Y’know, the one with the beard. Set in a gloomy asylum that wouldn’t look out of place in a Silent Hill game, the pair work together to escape the clutches of, well, whoever trapped them there.</p><p>You can hit the Tab key to switch between characters. Claire handles the guns and a knife, while Moira lights the way with a flashlight and can whack zombies with a crowbar if she has to. As Moira you can stop zombies in their tracks by blinding them with her light. As Claire you can sneak up on them and kill them instantly.</p><p>Babysitting another character could've been frustrating, but luckily the AI is capable of looking after the character left under its control. But even if they’ve been grabbed by a zombie, you can just Tab back to them, break free, and clear some space between them and their attacker. It’s co-op fused with singleplayer, and it works well.</p><p>The over-the-shoulder shooting will be familiar to anyone who played Resident Evil 4, but it’s a pale imitation. The feedback in Mikami’s game was brilliantly satisfying, with popping heads and fountains of gore. Here, the zombies barely react to being shot. Your reward for a clean headshot is a pathetic splash of blood. Compared to Resi 4’s punchy, kinetic combat, Revelations feels limp.</p><p>So it's not as good as Resident Evil 4, then. But what is, really?</p><p> The second part of Penal Colony sees you playing as Barry "the one with the beard" Burton, whose co-op partner is a little girl called Natalia. Claire begins her chapter with no weapons or supplies and has to scavenge them, but Barry starts fully kitted out with a pistol, an assault rifle, and his trademark Colt Python. Natalia can toss bricks to defend herself, ‘sense’ zombies through walls, and reveals hidden items.</p><p> I like the co-op stuff. There are enough differences between Claire/Moira and Barry/Natalia that having multiple playable characters doesn’t feel like a shallow gimmick. Moments where they’re forced to split up raise the tension, and you don’t have to worry about the AI leading your partner to their doom.</p><p> But boxy, uninspiring environments and weedy combat hold it back. As bad as Resident Evil 6 was, it at least felt like a big budget production. This has the unavoidable stink of a spin-off, and although there’s some nice lighting in places, the visuals feel outdated. It’s by no means the worst Resident Evil, but it doesn’t climb back to the series’ heights either. If you want to relive those days, play the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-hd-remaster-review/">HD remake</a>.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4-fjrr8bTuOv.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CDfTiFGjaeRy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="287290 2015-03-02 00008"></p><p> It runs fine on PC, with a decent selection of graphics options and support for high resolutions. The mouse and keyboard controls are slightly twitchy, and the camera occasionally freaks out when you sprint, but it’s just as playable as it is with a controller&mdash;which it was obviously designed for.</p><p> Disappointingly, you can’t play through the story with a friend, either online or locally. Capcom has promised that online co-op is coming to Raid mode&mdash;which is similar to <a href="http://residentevil.wikia.com/The_Mercenaries">The Mercenaries</a>&mdash;but the campaign is screaming out for multiplayer. Of course, this being PC, an enterprising modder has already started work on an <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-revelations-2-gets-local-co-op-mod/">offline co-op mod</a>. The game is fun enough solo, but some multiplayer would have been welcome.</p><p> As for the story, which is the driving force behind any good episodic game&hellip; well, it’s too early to tell. Not much happens in this two-hour slice, although the ending of Barry’s section did a pretty good job of making me want to play the next episode. I’m not entirely sure the episodic structure suits a game like this, but at least Capcom is trying something new to rejuvenate the series. I was intrigued by the ending, but it didn’t leave me with the same fevered need to play the next episode as a Telltale game.</p> Mirrored CS:GO maps are brain-breaking, nauseatinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/mirrored-csgo-maps-are-brain-breaking-nauseating/When someone put these mirrored versions of standard Counter-Strike maps in front of me, I thought, "Well, that's cute. Let's give that a whirl."Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mirrored-csgo-maps-are-brain-breaking-nauseating/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveCS:GOFPSTriggernometry <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/C1iQ0sSrKQI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><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, design criticism, and a celebration of virtual marksmanship. </p> </div><p> When someone put these&nbsp;<a href="https://steamcommunity.com/workshop/filedetails/?id=252938376">mirrored versions of standard Counter-Strike maps</a> in front of me, I thought, "Well, that's cute.&nbsp;Let's give that a whirl." Little did I know that I'd be subjecting myself to the Counter-Strike equivalent of a lobotomy. I switched on the ol'&nbsp;<a href="http://www.geforce.com/geforce-experience/shadowplay">Shadowplay</a> to capture&nbsp;my reaction as I&nbsp;loaded flipped versions of Nuke, Inferno, Dust2, and Mirage&nbsp;up for the first time.</p> Battlefield Hardline Premium details accompany pointless trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardline-premium-details-accompany-pointless-trailer/Hilari-bad trailer announces the inevitable existence of Battlefield Hardline PremiumMon, 02 Mar 2015 15:31:26 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardline-premium-details-accompany-pointless-trailer/Battlefield HardlineFPSNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Bn9JwS_ySben.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tNBFfx38xLnF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Battlefield Hardline"></p><p>Battlefield Hardline is getting a Premium membership option, as was inevitable. Visceral has announced what the Premium add-on will unlock, and I'll get to that in a minute. First, you should take a look at the Battlefield Hardline Premium trailer.</p><p>There's a theory&nbsp;that gaming news should be impartial and objective; that news writers should relieve&nbsp;themselves of the burden of thought, and instead act as an automated&nbsp;conduit for content. Luckily, PC Gamer doesn't subscribe to that theory, because otherwise I wouldn't be able to&nbsp;point out that this is the most pointlessly dumb trailer made this year.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OFHiedjQ4Bw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>It's a 31-second shrug in trailer form.</p><p>It's possible that&nbsp;EA is trying to channel the amazing Duke Nukem Trilogy trailer, only that had the balls to be nearly four minutes long and, as such, transcended into genius.</p><p>To hell with it.&nbsp;I'm going to embed that trailer as well. It is a better trailer.</p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6K00DCK1l98" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Anyway, what's in Hardline's Premium offering? For an extra £40/$50 purchase, players will get access to four "super features", four DLC packs, each available two weeks before general release, and a selection of other extras.</p><p>Here are your "super features":</p><ul> <li>Masks – New player masks with unique gameplay benefits tied to the theme of each mask.</li><li>Gun Bench – Provides players with the ability to visually customise their weapons and track their kills per weapon.</li><li>Competitive Play – Support for competitive play through <em>Battlefield Hardline Premium</em>-access only tournaments and ladders.</li><li>Legendary Status – Provides replayability of the entire progression system.</li></ul><p>Here, meanwhile, are the planned DLC packs:</p><ul> <li><em style="background-color: initial;">Battlefield Hardline: Criminal Activity – </em>Players have to make a name for themselves in fast-paced, highly-destructible new maps littered with small-time crime jobs. Available summer 2015.</li><li><em>Battlefield Hardline: Robbery</em> – Take down the opposition head on and progress through key locations with major cinematic action. Available summer 2015.</li><li><em>Battlefield Hardline: Getaway</em> – This is frantic, high-speed chases that immerse players deeper in the heist. Available fall 2015.</li><li><em>Battlefield Hardline: Betrayal </em>– There is a rat in every operation and players will have to find out who to trust. Available winter early 2016.</li></ul><p>And the additional extras? That'll include&nbsp;priority position in server queues, new personalisation options, double-XP events and 12 gold Battlepacks.</p><p>Battlefield Hardline is due out on March 17.&nbsp;</p> GOG holds yet another weird and unhealthy salehttp://www.pcgamer.com/gog-holds-yet-another-weird-and-unhealthy-sale/GOG launches 96-hours of timelimited sales.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:56:15 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gog-holds-yet-another-weird-and-unhealthy-sale/GOG.comNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mKGk1OzZQ_eS.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/swvnSuzFLwHE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gog"></p><p>What do you mean you like to sleep like a functional and productive member of society. How are you going to get around&nbsp;80% off a new game if you sleep? Maybe you should just stay up all night, ingesting coffee and energy drinks until the sight of your greyed, sagging face scares small children the next morning?</p><p>That seems to be what GOG wants, as they're doing yet another&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gog.com/" target="_blank">"Insomnia Promo"</a>.</p><p>It's 96 hours of deals this time, and the format is as rest-shattering as ever. Each deal is limited to a certain number of copies, and once they've run out, the next deal will take its place. This time, two offers will run simultaneously&mdash;one for "fresh" new games, and the other for "seasoned" old ones.</p><p>Also in the mix are a number of freebies. But if you sleep for even a couple of minutes, you could very well miss out. Or if you go to get food. Or go to the toilet. Or run around in a circle screaming at the unending madness of it all.</p><p>So that all sounds like fun. Past promos have had some great discounts. Despite that, maybe don't to try to stay awake for 96 hours straight. I mean, I'm not a doctor, but that doesn't sound like a good idea.</p> Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/trine-3-the-artifacts-of-power-announced/Three heroes travel through three dimensions in the third Trine.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 13:01:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/trine-3-the-artifacts-of-power-announced/NewsPlatformerTrine 3: The Artifacts of Power Job Simulator is the first SteamVR game to be announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/job-simulator-is-the-first-steamvr-game-to-be-announced/Pretend to pretend to do a menial job in Owlchemy's SteamVR debut.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 11:29:12 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/job-simulator-is-the-first-steamvr-game-to-be-announced/Job SimulatorNewssim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_fQYOX1nRhC1.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YUxz36WJPlOT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Kitchen01"></p><p>Deep space? The far future? The serene beauty of an abstract world? No, the first SteamVR game to be announced will be none of these things. It's a job simulator. It's called Job Simulator.</p><p>Okay, to be fair,&nbsp;it <em>is </em>set in the future. The premise of Owlchemy Labs' sim is that robots have taken over all the world's menial jobs. In order to learn about their ancestry, the humans of 2050 simulate the jobs of the past.</p><p>Essentially, then, Job Simulator is a job simulator simulator. Here it is in action:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NS_ENDFNOwI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Over at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/2xkfsw/owlchemy_demoing_new_steamvr_compatible_game_at/" target="_blank">r/Oculus subreddit</a>, Owlchemy's Alex Schwartz has been offering his&nbsp;impressions of Valve (and HTC's)&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valves-vr-headset-is-named-vive-and-htc-are-making-it/" target="_blank">new hardware</a>.&nbsp;"Comparing my Oculus Connect [Crescent Bay]&nbsp;experience to the Valve/HTC headset," Schwartz writes,&nbsp;"the Valve/HTC one is more advanced and more visually stunning."</p><p>As for compatibility, Job Simulator&nbsp;<a href="http://jobsimulatorgame.com/" target="_blank">will also support</a> Oculus Rift. "I'm not sure about the difficulty as we approach consumer launch but right now supporting SteamVR and Oculus should be totally doable," Schwartz writes.&nbsp;"I'd guess any company entering the consumer VR space would benefit from content creators who are able to play nicely with multiple VR platforms."</p> Superhot alpha footage shows endless modehttp://www.pcgamer.com/superhot-alpha-footage-shows-endless-mode/The enemies don't stop, unlike time.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:22:04 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/superhot-alpha-footage-shows-endless-mode/FPSNewsSUPERHOT <p>The Superhot&mdash;aka.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/superhot-trailer-is-super-hot-super-hot-super-hot-super/" target="_blank">SUPERHOT</a>&mdash;alpha&nbsp;has gone out to its relevant backers, and that means videos filled&nbsp;with time-warped polygonal violence are appearing online. Here's one that shows the game's Endless Mode&mdash;taking the same 'time only moves when you do' format and applying it to a non-stop&nbsp;horde defence.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0XTX-4x991g" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>It's not exactly the most thrilling application of the format. One of the original free&nbsp;game's strengths was its short film-inspired scenarios. I imagine that'll be the same for this expanded release. Nonetheless, the footage shows some of the new weapons in action&mdash;plus&nbsp;you get to see a man killed by beakers.</p> How do you prevent eye strain while gaming?http://www.pcgamer.com/how-do-you-prevent-eye-strain-while-gaming/Advice for PC gamers suffering from eye strain.Mon, 02 Mar 2015 02:07:35 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-do-you-prevent-eye-strain-while-gaming/Ask PC Gamer <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bv-lu22zRQKF.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jKhBbHkv2wNq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Deus Ex Eyes" class=""><figcaption>If only Sarif Industries were real.</figcaption></figure> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">ask pc gamer</h5> <p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ask-pc-gamer/">Ask PC Gamer</a> is our weekly question and advice column. Have a burning question about the smoke coming out of your PC? Send your problems to <a href="mailto:letters@pcgamer.com">letters@pcgamer.com</a>. </p> </div><p> <strong>Eye&nbsp;strain is a big problem for me, and&nbsp;I get a lot of&nbsp;headaches while playing for a long time, or sometimes even short sessions.&nbsp;Are there any tricks to help?&nbsp;- Natali</strong></p><p>There are! But let's get the disclaimer out of the way: if&nbsp;you're having serious headaches, consult&nbsp;a doctor. I am not a doctor, but I do know someone who knows&nbsp;an&nbsp;ophthalmologist,&nbsp;Dr. Michael Hawkeswood, and I consulted with him&nbsp;while writing this. Dr. Hawkeswood is&nbsp;more of a doctor than I'll ever be, because I am not at all a doctor. I am zero percent&nbsp;a doctor.</p><p> That settled, the common advice for avoiding eye strain (which Dr. Hawkeswood confirms)&nbsp;is to look away from your display now and then and focus on a distant object. You've got &nbsp;to&nbsp;stretch out those eye-focusing ciliary muscles! (Note: 'stretch out' is probably not the term a doctor would use.)&nbsp;If you're playing a multiplayer game, the easy thing to do is to look away after every match. Study the most distant object in the room, or silently peer out your window, with the bonus effect of creeping out anyone outside.</p><p> And while you're stretching your eyeballs, take a look at your lighting situation. It's good idea to keep your&nbsp;room evenly lit while avoiding screen glare as much as possible. You don't want light coming from directly behind your display (I say, with a window behind my desk) or pointed directly at it.&nbsp;And though it's unlikely that you have&nbsp;florescent lights above your desk, avoid those.</p><p> Also, remember to blink. It sounds silly, but every&nbsp;eye care provider I've referenced&nbsp;notes reduced blinking as a cause of computer eye strain. Here's the word on it from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/content/digital-eye-strain/adults" target="_blank">The Vision Council</a>:&nbsp;</p><p> "On average, a person going through his or her daily routine blinks about 18 times per minute. However, spending significant amounts of time staring at a screen causes blink rates to reduce, resulting in dry, itchy or burning eyes."</p><p> Eye drops may help, or you could put a Blink-182 poster above your display to remind yourself (may backfire as&nbsp;Mark Hoppus's smirk is known to cause bewildered, unblinking staring).&nbsp;</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zXTAQJ4oSE2J.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YVFcDGpscTdc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Img 7582" class=""><figcaption>If everything but the game and your glasses is black and white, I'm not sure what's going on with your eyes.</figcaption></figure><p> If&nbsp;just taking eye breaks and reminding yourself that pop&nbsp;punk was a thing isn't helpful, one option is to try a product like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gunnars.com/" target="_blank">Gunnar glasses</a>, which filter artificial blue light and&nbsp;are said to help&nbsp;relax the ciliary muscles. I'm skeptical of all health products marketed to me on the internet, but I know people who swear by them. Ars Technica&nbsp;<a href="http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2009/10/leveling-up-your-eyesight-with-gaming-glasses-ars-explores/" target="_blank">had a pretty good experience</a> with the glasses, and confirmed with an optometrist that they are beneficial, but also noted that you may be able to find a cheaper pair that does the same thing.&nbsp;Dr. Hawkeswood was more skeptical. I say: if&nbsp;they work for you, that's great! They're at least worth a try if you have constant eye strain problems, though it is a lot of&nbsp;money to spend when better lighting and more breaks&nbsp;may be all you need.</p><p>But before buying special glasses, go to an optometrist. You may need corrective lenses, and you should be getting regular check ups anyway&nbsp;(like, more than once every five years, which I have a terrible habit of doing). It doesn't matter if you've had perfect vision your whole life&mdash;I can say from experience that&nbsp;my astigmatism has&nbsp;altered my vision into my late 20s.</p><p> But assuming your eyes are healthy and you're only&nbsp;experiencing minor headaches (if you're taking medication for headaches&nbsp;more than twice a week,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tension-headache/basics/symptoms/con-20014295" target="_blank">Mayo Clinic suggests</a> that you see a physician), here's one last tip:&nbsp;try f.lux.&nbsp;It&nbsp;isn't exactly designed to alleviate&nbsp;eye strain,&nbsp;but it feels worth mentioning anyway.&nbsp;<a href="https://justgetflux.com/" target="_blank">F.lux</a> is a lightweight program that adjusts the color temperature of your screen according to the time of day, mimicking daylight during the day, and warming it to the temperature indoor lighting at night. It's primarily said to benefit sleep, as&nbsp;<a href="https://justgetflux.com/research.html" target="_blank">recent research suggests</a> that looking at blue light before bed can keep you up, but&nbsp;I find it makes my screen generally easier to look at. It may not help with gaming (you'd want to warm up&nbsp;your display's color settings for that), but I love it when I'm working.</p><p>As for gaming alone, here's the recap: keep your room evenly&nbsp;lit (ideally not with florescent lights), but not so bright as to cause glare. Look away from your display every 20 minutes or so and focus on something distant. Don't forget to blink. And see an optometrist&mdash;if the optometrist looks blurry, you probably need corrective lenses. Ask the optometrist about that once you find her.</p> Valve's VR headset is named Vive, and HTC are making ithttp://www.pcgamer.com/valves-vr-headset-is-named-vive-and-htc-are-making-it/We'll know more at GDC in a few days.Sun, 01 Mar 2015 17:04:40 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/valves-vr-headset-is-named-vive-and-htc-are-making-it/GDC 2015NewsSteamVRValve <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CIPVq43mQZ2b.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EgibUEnhPzzg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="HTC Vive"></p><p>Valve's SteamVR headset has been&nbsp;<a href="http://www.htcvr.com/" target="_blank">blown wide open</a>, ahead of its appearance at the Game Developers Conference next week. It's named Vive, HTC are making it (yes, HTC), and it boasts two&nbsp;1200x1080 displays that refresh at 90 frames per second. This, according to HTC, allows the device to "[fill] your field of vision in all directions, eliminating the jitter common to previous VR technologies".</p><p>So yes, turns out Valve are collaborating with HTC on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-to-show-steamvr-hardware-system-at-gdc-next-week/" target="_blank">headset</a>, which also boasts a "gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser position sensor", along with something called the 'Steam VR base station' that will allow you to control your avatar's movement by physically walking around your room, "in spaces up to 15 feet by 15 feet". HTC-made wireless game controllers will be available for more complex interactions that don't rely on your feet.</p><p>The HTC&nbsp;Vive will be supported by game&nbsp;developers including fishing sim makers Dovetail Games, but also by&nbsp;Google, HBO, Lionsgate, and places like the&nbsp;National Palace Museum. The consumer version is planned for release in 2015 (yep, this year), and there will doubtless be many more details at GDC in a few days' time. In the meantime, here's a brief&nbsp;video showing a bunch of nonsense and a&nbsp;dude taking the goggles off:</p><iframe width="658" height="370" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eTITJSSRUso" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> How I learned to stop worrying and love Nemesis Drafthttp://www.pcgamer.com/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-nemesis-draft/When the usual stream monsters and Reddit commentators speak about bad picks and poor champions, there's usually an unspoken caveat.Sun, 01 Mar 2015 17:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-nemesis-draft/eSportsLeague of LegendsMOBA <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1qlawB5uRlSe.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OT7ACJILlxsT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="lol"></p><p>When the usual stream monsters and Reddit commentators speak about bad picks and poor champions, there's usually an unspoken caveat: these champions are bad compared to other options. Being an <em>unspoken</em> caveat, it's also one that's often forgotten&mdash;hyperbolic terms like "useless" or "does negative damage" gets flung around to the point that it's easy to forget the context in which they're judged by. </p><p>Which is why the new&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-nemesis-draft-mode-goes-live-on-the-pbe/">Nemesis Draft mode</a> is so bloody brilliant. I love it. It pains me to know that it's only here on a temporary basis, because it's been direly needed as an object lesson to the player base&mdash;hopefully it'll be something they put into regular rotation. </p><p>The gist is: it isn't the champion's fault that you're losing lane or your teammates are doing badly. The worth of a tool is based first and foremost on its craftsman. Sure, a hammer forged from good iron might be better at beating things in than a rock you picked off the ground. But the difference between your grandfather's hammer with the well-worn wooden grip stained by decades of sweat and labor, and the sleek one with the ergonomic grip from a $1000 toolset, is that the former was used by somebody that knew what the hell they were doing. You, on the other hand, just spent $1000 to build a shoddy birdhouse!</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ls6BvVzsScS_.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8gNYmT_LjqeQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Taric Lol"></p><p>Let's take some recent games for example. I keep seeing Taric banned&mdash;that is, with the Nemesis Draft, you ban to keep your opponents from giving you something that sucks instead of, as with normal play, to keep them from taking something good. In one game, he slipped through and fell right into my lap. </p><p>I proceeded to pick up double-kills in lane, and chase whole teams around with the threat of a Dazzle. I tanked literally everything they threw at me, heedless of any of their threats. Taric is <em>terrific&mdash;</em>at least from a team-oriented perspective. Radiance gives so many free stats it's obnoxious, and his passive basically acts as a Sheen, which (naturally) worked especially well after I built the actual item, laying waste to anybody I could Flash onto for a close-range stun.</p><p>Or Maokai, in another game. Who <em>gives</em> people one of the tankiest possible top laners in the game in Nemesis Draft? Did they think that the recent prevalence of Irelias, Gnars, Lissandras and other high-damage fighters in the current metagame meant that Maokai was weak? He spent months at the top of the charts as one of the most devastating presences in teamfights&mdash;and nothing about that's changed, merely the strategic emphasis at the uppermost levels of the game.</p><p>On the flip side, I <em>really</em> wish people would stop letting&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/riots-new-league-of-legends-skin-might-be-the-coolest-theyve-made/">Sona</a> through. As a former Bronzie that dug himself one game at a time out of the 800 Elo trench (back when Elo was still a numerical value), I know better than most just how effective Sona is, even after her rework&mdash;especially after I figured how to make her into an off-carry. Put a Sheen on her, and she's ripping health bars apart every time she hits her Q. No, dude, treat the songstress with respect&mdash;just because you think it's funny to force them to play a support champion as an AD carry doesn't mean she isn't really freaking effective as an AD carry, given the great interaction between her low-cooldown abilities and Sheen-boosted auto-attacks. </p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZxlyI07dRECB.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/W10QQx24Y6ck.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dj Sona"></p><p>What Nemesis Draft teaches us is the wide gulf between champion reputation and actual capability. It reminds us that a lot of the roster's only weak because Riot hasn't gotten around to nerfbatting the hell out of Ahri, Gnar or Kalista yet. But when you remove the S-tier champions from contention, seemingly useless champions suddenly find themselves leaders of the pack, if only its players properly understood how to utilize them in combination with other rarely-used options.</p><p>Now, that's not to say that all champions below the common tournament-tier choices are equally valid. There are definitely some ways to abuse Nemesis Draft to <em>really</em> frustrate your opponents. But it's less about choosing specific champions and choosing common (and detrimental) champion qualities. For instance:</p><p>1. <strong>The Unruly Mob</strong>: a team without reliable Crowd Control is a team asking to die&mdash;repeatedly. Though giving them Fiora, Lucian, Ezreal and other high-damage champions seems like a somewhat self-destructive course of action, they're also champions that have traditionally required a lot of peel and front-liners to be effective. On the other hand, if your team was granted anybody with a root, stun or knockup, especially as an area of effect, all that damage can be (relatively) trivially shut down...assuming you were all smart enough to build tanky against such a team.</p><p>2. <strong>The Pacifists</strong>: The other end of the scale's champions that do have a lot of utility, but hit like wet noodles. Alistar, for instance, simply doesn't have the ratios or qualities in his spells to be anything but a front-line tank&mdash;though he is, of course, very good at that role. Same with Nami: she might be able to single-handedly orchestrate the outcome of a fight with good Aqua Prison and Tidal Wave placement, but the high cooldown of her spells and weak autoattacks makes her an especially poor choice as a mage or carry.</p><p>3. <strong>Purebreed Problems</strong>: What happens when a team only has magic-based damage? Well, if your team wants to win, it probably means that everybody, including the support, has a Null-Magic Mantle after their first recall, and Locket of the Iron Solari gets built extremely quickly. Similarly, you can feel the palpable frustration when an all-AD team runs headlong into multiple Randuin's Omens. Forcing the enemy team onto solitary forms of damage makes it braindead easy to build against them, giving you a statistical advantage even if you can't quite secure a strategic one.</p><p>4. <strong>Knives in a Gun Fight</strong>: There are few things sadder than an Udyr with a whole bunch of items that has to wade through slows, roots and Elder Lizard buffed autoattacks to get close to his target. With no gap closer, no ranged abilities and only a small movement speed booster, Udyr might as well be a kite played with by the enemy AD carry and mage. Though ranged champions tend to be designed with a glass jaw in terms of defensive stats, they nonetheless hold an inherent offensive advantage against melee-range counterparts, and one accentuated the more skilled the player is at positioning and movement options.</p><p>5. <strong>Urgot</strong>: ...okay, fair, maybe there is such thing as a truly useless champion.</p><p>Feel free to give them Elise too.</p> Elite: Dangerous to honour Leonard Nimoy with new Vulcan stationhttp://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-to-honour-leonard-nimoy-with-new-vulcan-station/Live long and prosper.Sun, 01 Mar 2015 16:20:53 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-to-honour-leonard-nimoy-with-new-vulcan-station/Elite: DangerousFrontierNewssim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2l-qORZbSOKw.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yqkKJRPp5U48.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Vulcan"></p><p>Space trade-'em-up Elite: Dangerous is to get a new orbital&nbsp;station, in memory of the great Leonard Nimoy, who died this weekend. Appropriately, the structure&nbsp;will be placed in orbit around the planet Vulcan, which unfortunately is not full of big-eared rational aliens in the Elite universe. Still, it's the perfect place for space captains to make pilgrimage towards, in honour of a titan of science fiction.</p><p>Oh, you were wondering what it was going to be called? Why,&nbsp;Nimoy Memorial station, of course, as announced by executive producer&nbsp;<a href="https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=116553&amp;page=31&amp;p=1856104&amp;highlight=#post1856104" target="_blank">Michael Brooks</a>. The station will be added as part of patch 1.2, which is all about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-12-preview-flying-together-with-wings/" target="_blank">wings</a>, you'll recall.</p><p>Ta,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamesn.com/elite-dangerous/elite-dangerous-to-see-new-station-orbiting-planet-vulcan-named-after-the-late-leonard-nimoy" target="_blank">PCGamesN</a>.</p> Amnesia: The Dark Descent mod brings in... Pokémon?http://www.pcgamer.com/amnesia-the-dark-descent-mod-brings-in-pokemon/Yup. An Amnesia: TheDark Descent mod brings in Pokémon.Sun, 01 Mar 2015 10:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/amnesia-the-dark-descent-mod-brings-in-pokemon/Amnesia: The Dark DescentHorrorMod of the Weekpokemon <p> Well, FINALLY. A&nbsp;brave soul&nbsp;has at long last&nbsp;taken the completely&nbsp;logical step of modding turn-based&nbsp;Pokémon-style combat into&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/amnesia-the-dark-descent/">Amnesia: The Dark Descent</a>. The mod<a href="http://www.moddb.com/mods/monsters-an-amnesia-concept">&nbsp;is called Monsters</a>, and no, it doesn't feature fiery&nbsp;lizards&nbsp;and and squirting turtles and yellow electric squirrels (sorry,&nbsp;I don't really know much about Pokémon, which is going to become quite clear). Instead, your monsters are props from the game, like chairs, boxes, tables, wine barrels,&nbsp;and stoves.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/c8zfFB9rSm6k.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DaswbmLt59B0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pokemon" class=""><figcaption>Stove, I choose you. Respond by saying, I dunno... "stove" I guess?</figcaption></figure><p> After a brief intro where you find an orb and rub it with some orb wax, you unleash some sort of... I don't really know what it is. A powerful spirit that wants to play Pokémon against you? Something like that.&nbsp;After fleeing the energy being, you encounter an angry walking suit of armor, and a small friendly crate who fights it for you. This crate is your first Pokémon, and it has a single power, wood aura, which flings boxes at your enemy.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/H-yO_Tz0SZiB.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GNNzMSczgLEX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pokemon" class=""><figcaption>This is some sort of Pokémon business happening, I'd wager.</figcaption></figure><p>With your trusty crate (fully voiced, and quite well, by the way), you can visit various rooms and find opponents waiting for you. Use your crate to defeat, say, a stove, and you gain a power from that stove. You also gain experience points to increase your level, and can evolve into other forms. I presume actual Pokémon works in roughly the same way?</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/C6cBj_tTRb6H.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/p7KsLSXNavAj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pokemon" class=""><figcaption>Damn you, barrel of wine!</figcaption></figure><p>I played for a bit and it's fun. I evolved my&nbsp;crate into a&nbsp;chair, gaining a dust storm power, and then evolved from&nbsp;a&nbsp;chair into&nbsp;a stove, gaining a smoke power. Then, I tried to alt-tab out to read the manual and the game crashed, so don't do that. But&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mediafire.com/download/5o4j847t5vnaauq/Monsters+-+Manual.pdf">do download the manual</a>, as&nbsp;it lets you know what sorts of powers do best against which sorts of monsters.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cJtjRd1ST1-W.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5ZLbM35HWiC9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pokemon" class=""><figcaption>Do I want to evolve into a stove? Hell yes I do. You didn't even need to ask.</figcaption></figure><p>I started over and became a chair again, and then tried to take on the boss of the level, which turned out to be quite a powerful monster and not as warm and cuddly as the various pieces of furniture I'd been battling with. I think I'll go back to fighting tables and wardrobes until I've gotten a bit better.</p><p>This is a really fun mod and a very unusual idea: bringing turn-based furniture combat into a game famous for having no combat at all.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.moddb.com/mods/monsters-an-amnesia-concept">You can grab it off moddb.com</a>.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2vuZ0if6RzGr.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xL7BfgoGh8h_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pokemon" class=""><figcaption>Someday my crate will use Spookbones. This I so swear.</figcaption></figure> Aaru's Awakening reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/aarus-awakening-review/A beautiful 2D platformerwith some ugly problems.Sat, 28 Feb 2015 21:12:06 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/aarus-awakening-review/Aaru's AwakeningIndiePlatformerReviews <div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">need to know</h5><div><p><strong>What is it?</strong>&nbsp;2D action puzzle-platformer<br><strong></strong><strong>Price:</strong> $15/£11<br><strong></strong><strong>Release date</strong>: Out now<br><strong>Publisher/Developer</strong>: Lumenox Games<br><strong>Multiplayer</strong>: No<br><strong></strong><strong>Link</strong>: <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/294060/" target="_blank">Steam store&nbsp;page</a></p></div></div><p>Aaru's Awakening is a 2D action puzzle-platformer made by Lumenox Games. It features beautiful, hand-drawn environments and animation, and a wonderful, soothing soundtrack. So why&nbsp;did I hold up two middle fingers at it for several long, angry seconds? We'll get to that in a minute.</p><p>I'll spare you the lore: let's just say Aaru is a yellow monster you guide through four gorgeous yet dangerous&nbsp;realms filled with spiked walls, falling platforms, toxic pits, enemy monsters, and tons of other traps and hazards, including several boss fights that often contain many of these deadly elements at the same time. Besides running and jumping, Aaru can perform a charge, a flying headbutt useful for bashing through crumbling stone walls and getting a few extra feet out of a jump that's fallen short.</p><p>Aaru can also teleport by firing an orb and appearing at any point in the orb's trajectory. Sometimes you bank the orb off walls or floors, or through narrow vents in the rocks, or to bypass hazards that would otherwise harm or kill you, like a game of teleportation billiards. It's also Aaru's only offensive weapon. Fire an orb at an enemy, and as it passes through him, blink yourself to it. Telefragged, sucker.</p><p>It's nice that Aaru has an actual weapon, because he's quite frail otherwise. Most traps will immediately end your life, though some hazards, like scorching sunbeams, take a second or two to kill you. When you die, you're shown a death screen displaying a skull and are transported to your last checkpoint to try again. We're getting close to the middle fingers, now.</p><p>Visually, Aaru's Awakening is a real treat. The hand-drawn environments and animations are strange and beautiful, and even the level selection screen is something you just want to stare at for a while. Looking at the game is like flipping through the pages of an weird indie comic book or watching an experimental animated film. Bosses look bizarre and amazing and basically represent their own multi-stage levels, even containing their own internal checkpoints.</p><p>The problem is, there are problems. The controls are easily the weakest aspect of the game. Teleporting works well, but charging can be problematic. Aaru runs back and forth with the A and D keys, but charges toward the position of your cursor instead of in the direction he's moving, which feels counterintuitive. While trying to scootch him carefully to the edge of a ledge he may instead lurch forward a full step and plummet off. Even after hours of play I never felt like I was in perfect control of Aaru.&nbsp;</p><p>The artwork, while wonderfully creative and unusual, often doesn't do a good job differentiating traps and not-traps, nor makes it obvious what is part of the background and what presents a physical obstacle. The death screen pops up so immediately after you perish that you're often prevented from getting a good look at whatever it was that killed you.</p><p>When these problems all appear at the same time, things spill over into out-and-out frustration. Sometimes you have to fire an orb offscreen and teleport to it, and when you blink in, you're immediately killed by a hazard you can't really see. The sudden death screen doesn't allow you to plan your next move. Trying to charge or jump your way out of the situation often doesn't work well because of the control problems. And, sometimes the checkpoints require you to replay several earlier traps just to return to that one frustrating spot, where you get the briefest of glimpses at the situation before having to try again. A dozen or so consecutive failures like this, and that's when the twin middle fingers come out, and come out hard.</p><p>I don't want to pick on Aaru's Awakening for requiring split-second timing, trial-and-error learning, or memorization of levels: that's all been a staple of platformers from the beginning. The game is clearly meant to be a brutal challenge, and it really is, often quite satisfyingly so. It's when all the issues mentioned above show up at the same time that the challenge swings over into something unfairly punishing and frustrating, and it happens a bit too often in Aaru's Awakening.</p> Is Valve making a mistake by getting into VR hardware?http://www.pcgamer.com/face-off-is-valve-making-a-mistake-by-getting-into-vr-hardware/Chris and Wes debate Valve's entry into the VR hardware arena.Sat, 28 Feb 2015 18:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/face-off-is-valve-making-a-mistake-by-getting-into-vr-hardware/Face OffSteamVRValvevirtual reality <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6UTkeslKQRGw.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NNfuS7yChnT8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Valve VR"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">FACE OFF</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PKJgKTEJTHiI.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_KlM4pjCzWcM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Chris Livingston fake Headshot png"> </p> <p> <strong>Chris Livingston, staff writer</strong> </p> <p> Chris Livingston thinks that VR isn’t ever going to be an affordable mass-market product, and Valve should spend its money elsewhere. </p> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pkpALdGdRC6B.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4RokaWky7QdT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wes Fenlon"> </p> <p> <strong>&nbsp;</strong><strong>Wes Fenlon, hardware editor</strong><br> </p> <p> Wes Fenlon is wrong about everything. For instance, he was wrong in thinking he could trust Chris to write this blurb for him. </p> </div><p><em style="background-color: initial;">In Face Off, PC Gamer writers go head to head over an issue affecting PC gaming. Today, Wes and Chris argue about&nbsp;Valve’s recent announcement that it’ll be showing off VR hardware&nbsp;at this year’s GDC.</em></p><p> <strong>Chris Livingston: YES. As far as we know, Valve may not even have an aptitude for hardware.</strong></p><p><strong></strong>After a beta testing a handful of Steam Machines and controllers, Valve pushed release dates back a full year and didn’t even attend CES in 2014, not a great sign that its hardware projects are bearing fruit. Meanwhile, Valve is long overdue with another much-anticipated project the internet can’t stop talking about: Ricochet 2. I know everyone else is getting into VR, but Valve should give it a pass.</p><p><strong> Wes Fenlon: NO. The simple fact is, Valve has been experimenting with VR for <em>years</em>.</strong></p><p> Michael Abrash, now at Oculus VR, was pondering and writing about virtual reality while doing research with Valve <a href="http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/abrash/page/4/">as early as 2012</a>. And according to people who tried Valve’s prototype VR hardware in 2014, it was far more advanced than anything Oculus had created up until that point (Crescent Bay is apparently much closer). The big difference was practicality: Oculus has been focused on working towards a consumer product, while Valve was content to work on prototype stuff that would cost thousands of dollars. Clearly Valve has now changed its mind. And I think that means Valve has a VR solution that’s good enough, and now affordable enough, to be a real competitor to the Oculus Rift. And if it’s that good, I think gamers will want to use it.</p><p> <strong>Chris</strong>: I have no doubt VR is cool to use. I’m not even saying I don’t personally want one. But as a consumer product, it’s strictly going to be for enthusiasts with deep pockets. A recent hardware survey conducted around my desk concluded there are four PCs sitting here, and all of them, including the one I’m using, are outdated. Now all these companies think a set of VR goggles that become obsolete a few months after buying them is going to become a common household product? Not gonna happen, and all the money being sunk into VR is not going to be recouped. Valve has the money to spare, I’m sure, but should spend it elsewhere, maybe on some other crazy project, like making a video game.</p><p> <strong>Wes</strong>: I don’t like having to say this, but I think it’s the truth: Valve is no longer a company that makes games. And I don’t mean it’ll be like that forever, that we’ll never see Half-Life 3 or another Valve game. But it’s been four years since Portal 2. Most of what Valve does now is built around growing Steam and making money. SteamOS was a direct reaction to the Windows 8 App Store. Dota 2 is their current big game project, and it’s a cash cow. We all know Valve is famous for its “no bosses” work environment, and I think what we’re seeing with Steam Machines, the controller, and now SteamVR is a result of that environment. The Valve employees passionate about Dota 2 are working on Dota 2. And the Valve employees passionate about hardware are working on VR. There could be a big group of designers working on the next Half-Life and Left 4 Dead 3, or their employee makeup could be heavily skewed towards hardware experts right now. If that’s the case, isn’t it better for them to be working on VR than writing dialogue for funny robots?</p><p> <strong>Chris</strong>: That’s not the argument I’m making. I’ve seen that argument before, on forums: why is Valve making more hats for TF2 instead of working on Steam functionality? It’s two different departments: the hat-makers and the Steam-fixers. I’m not saying Valve should spend its VR talent elsewhere, I’m saying Valve should spend its VR money elsewhere. Admittedly, this is tantamount to suggesting Valve fire their entire VR staff, which is incredibly mean of me, but if Valve is a company about making money, as you say, it should wise up to the fact that VR isn’t the way to do it. Facebook ain’t gonna see their $2 billion again because most people aren’t going to want to strap a computer to their faces. Remember Google Glass? Me neither. People want computers on their desks, in their pockets, in their cars and starships, and maybe on their wrists. Not on their faces!</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5PyEAtL6SSqL.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WT6TI9ZnOGHu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Valve Oculus"></p><p> <strong>Wes</strong>: Maybe I’m just an optimist when it comes to VR, then. I suppose a lot of people are: we want to believe that it’s the Next Big Thing. But I think there’s a really big difference between something like Google Glass and something like a VR headset for gaming. For one thing, Google Glass had a real social stigma problem&mdash;it was designed to be used in public, but it looked goofy, and a lot of us don’t particularly want our photos taken in a public bathroom. Valve’s VR headset may look goofy, too, but VR is really meant to be used in the privacy of your office or bedroom, wherever you keep your PC. Most of us laughed at the Nintendo Wii, too, until we played Wii Sports, and then everyone and his grandmother bought one. I think it’ll take just one killer app to sell the immersive power of VR, and all of a sudden, we will want computers on our faces.</p><p> <strong>Chris</strong>: Happy to hear you and your grandmother are still enjoying your Wii. As for the rest of the world, we played with it a couple times and then quickly got over the novelty of it, because that’s what it was: a novelty. VR is no different. Just like a controller you have to wave in the air, a VR headset just isn’t a practical device for everyday gaming. What else do you do while playing a game? Reach for your coffee? Grab a snack off a plate? Plug in a set of headphones? Turn your head to see what your dog is chewing on? Glance at someone speaking to you? Look at your phone? Fire off a quick text? Jot down a note? Good luck doing any of that when you can’t see anything but the game you’re playing. Fanciful devices are cool to think about, but ultimately we want convenient devices. A camera built into a phone is convenient. An opaque computer screen strapped to your cheekbones ain’t. Hell, half the reason Steam is so popular is because Valve made it so convenient.</p><p> <strong>Wes</strong>: Okay, you got me on the Wii’s motion controls. And the Kinect was the same&mdash;it sold incredibly well at first, and then everyone hated it. But I don’t think it ever had a killer app, either. Your point about convenience actually brings up what I’m most curious to find out about SteamVR: is it just hardware, or is there a special version of the Steam software designed for VR, too?</p><p> I think you and I look at VR in two different ways. You talk about it like a replacement for your monitor, an inconvenient way to play games while trying to do other everyday things. Looking at it that way, using Steam in VR would definitely be a headache. Who wants to try to type in a credit card number with a headset strapped to their face? But I see VR hardware as an avenue to totally different types of games, or new ways to experience the genres we already love. Maybe that’s a hard sell. Gamers are excited about the Oculus Rift, but almost everyone has faith in Valve. Maybe their involvement in VR is the very thing that will legitimize it, and give it the legs to survive that initial “do we want this?” period until developers learn how to make incredible VR experiences.</p><p> <strong>Chris</strong>: That’s a good point. I have an admittedly narrow concept of VR, and I do tend to think of it as a replacement for the way I play games instead of as an additional way to play them. And you’re right, its success may just hinge on someone making the perfect game for it. I also admit that Valve probably knows more about the best way to run Valve than I do, considering they have a billion dollars and I only have a few hundred million. I just remain generally skeptical of VR ever entering the mainstream, and that it’ll ever be as affordable as some think, even with Valve involved.</p><p> I think this argument can only be settled over a round of Wii Tennis. Winner plays grandma.</p><p> <strong>Wes</strong>: I challenge you to a <a href="http://youtu.be/01k-n-_QFKk?t=1m1s">Cosmic Smash</a> contest instead. Once someone ports it to VR, anyway, where it was clearly meant to be.</p><p> <strong>Chris</strong>: Weirdly, that video not only sold me on VR but on Wii controllers. Let’s do this.</p> The best videos of the weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-videos-of-the-week/Watch and learn from these Counter-Strike and Arma pros.Sat, 28 Feb 2015 17:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-videos-of-the-week/ActionCounter-Strike: Global OffensiveFPSGrand Theft Auto VSingle-player <p>It's time to check out the best video of the week. We got &nbsp;Arma wizards, Counter-Strike ninjas, and as always, a bunch of clowns killing themselves in Grand Theft Auto V. Enjoy!</p><p>Leonard Nimoy had a long and distinguished career, but some of us might remember his iconic voice best from Civilization:</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/75oun5gvDAU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>You don't even have to be a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive expert to be impressed by this highlight reel of pro player Snax.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/KHAK0rqW61Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>I know they still prefer Arma 2, but it's always nice to see the ShackTac crew play Arma 3. Watch them try to hold this town in the newer and shinier engine.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/e1daUSGy-BY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Ever wanted to sleep to soothing hum of Fallout 3's Vault 101? Well, this <em>12 hour</em> video of ambient sounds should do the trick.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/7YLCa1CoQbQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>These Grand Theft Auto V players have given me an even greater appreciation for the Blue Angels.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/VJoMJzqZSzg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Every morning I spring out of bed screaming at the heavens that there aren't more games today like Descent. Finally, my prayers have been answered.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/0vM4FGes3g8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> The best free games of the weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-free-games-of-the-week-67/Catch a train, be a merman, do tech support in outer space.Sat, 28 Feb 2015 16:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-free-games-of-the-week-67/browser gamesFree GamesIndieThe Best Free Games of the Week <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kmHLwvetQO2l.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IH5plHKjTd1V.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Off-Peak"></p><p>This week's roundup takes you to the second weirdest train station in the universe (the first weirdest is the one where I saw a dog in a pram), to the nineties under the sea, back to your youth as a checkout operator at your crappy local supermarket, to the stars, and to the stars again, but this time with baddies. Enjoy!</p><h3><a href="http://polclarissou.itch.io/forever" target="_blank">Forever by Pol Clarissou</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/10aoEwIwR5iy.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NhfyIZ2ZBiy0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Forever"></p><p>When you're young and it's your first job and getting out of bed is exquisite torture, working in&nbsp;a supermarket is one of the worst things in the world. Pol Clarissou's Forever takes me back to those not-halcyon days, to scanning items and smiling at old ladies and feeling rubbish when some idiot takes their bad day out on you. It's a game about scanning things with barcodes on, of taking cash and trying to do things with it, but most of all it's a game about glorious <em>physics</em>. You might work dutifully at first, but when you realise nobody cares (much like in a real supermarket) you'll fling food and cash and for some reason tires around with giddy abandon.</p><h3><a href="http://elliwoods.itch.io/seaquest1992" target="_blank">SEAQUEST1992 by Elli Woods</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cp71NfsSRWu4.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RgGr2n9FsmZt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Seaquest"></p><p>SEAQUEST1992 wants to look like an N64 game, and it does feel like the sort of&nbsp;lost Japanese oddity you'd have&nbsp;encountered in&nbsp;game magazines way&nbsp;back in the day. You know, the games with the beautifully weird names and screenshots and gimmicks, which had zero chance of making it to the west. It looks lovely (though&nbsp;more like a Saturn game, I reckon), it sounds <em>fantastic</em> thanks to the music of chmod, and it plays a bit frustratingly because you're mainly asked to avoid fiddly&nbsp;spiky coral and pick up floating yellow triangles. Creator&nbsp;Elli Woods has nailed the aesthetic of the obscure, forgotten oddity, however, and I can't wait to see what game emerges next.</p><h3><a href="http://cosmoddd.itch.io/off-peak" target="_blank">Off-Peak by Cosmo D</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4q8L3r24TJyo.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/A7D4shIZcUXI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Off Peak2"></p><p>Off-Peak&mdash;and I've <em>just</em>&nbsp;understood the title&mdash;takes you to a bizarre train station full of lovely visual art, stalls, cafes, and tucked away little secret dens and shrines. You're there to piece together a ripped-up train ticket for a benched&nbsp;old man, a goal that cleverly compels you to examine every inch of this relatively small, out there location. People talk, as they often don't at actual train stations, saying funny, political, expositiony or nonsense things. Music plays, a heady jazz soundtrack that, as soundtracks often do, fills in the cracks of a lightly sketched world. I was reminded of Pathologic, BioShock Infinite, immersive sims. You can steal the above guy's pizza, and stuff your pockets with vinyl. What more could you possibly want?</p><h3><a href="http://www.antholojam.com/gamesite/ppp.html" target="_blank">Planet of the Poison Past by Sophie Houlden</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/k1ycMCvbQeqL.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TkFNhGxGusIY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ppp"></p><p>Conceived for Antholojam&mdash;theme: 'Golden era of sci-fi'&mdash;Planet of the Poison Past is a story-based adventure set in the future of a previous age. By which I mean it's 2003, as imagined by '50s pulp science fiction writers. This, of course, is a wonderful fake time period for a game to be exploring, and I just love the colourful setting of PPP. It looks like a a pulp sci-fi cover, the story is pretty interesting, and even though the music kept disappearing on me, it sounded suitably spacey when it was there. You're a rookie interstellar&nbsp;scientist gud wiv computers, which of course are the size of warehouses in 2003. (Via&nbsp;<a href="http://wip.warpdoor.com/2015/02/25/planet-of-a-poisoned-past-sophie-houlden/" target="_blank">Warp Door</a>)</p><h3><a href="http://bagfullofwrong.co.uk/bagfullofwords/" target="_blank">Death Ray Manta by Rob Fearon</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GoO2aZKlSXeZ.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/J5BBVBFs-fRw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="DRM"></p><p>Rob Fearon makes shooty, arcadey, Mintery games called things like War Twat and Squid Harder, and he's just made his entire oeuvre available for free (minus the game he's currently working on, natch). This is not a time-limited offer: he's decided that he's made quite&nbsp;enough money off these games thankyouverymuch, and he'd like to give something back to the gaming world. His newly free games include Death Ray Manta, which can be topically abbreviated to DRM. (There's no DRM. That's the joke.) DRM, like his other games, is a game about shooting colourful space things with colourful&nbsp;space lasers, as explosions and lights and funny text and arrghhh what's going on happen all around you and now I'm dead. The scoring system is beautifully simple: one point for beating a stage, another point for grabbing the 'space tiffin' along the way. (Via&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/02/26/freeware-garden-death-ray-manta/" target="_blank">RPS</a>)</p> The Wages of Sinhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-wages-of-sin/Why it rarely feels good to be bad.Sat, 28 Feb 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-wages-of-sin/Critical Paths <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fA4l2pGXTYWc.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QRe-uoAEM5I3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Evil"></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">CRITICAL PATHS</h5><p>Every week,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.richardcobbett.com">Richard Cobbett</a> writes about the world of story and writing in games.</p></div><p>Everyone loves a good villain. Actors adore playing them, to twirl a moustache and dine on scenery. Movies like Day of the Jackal are intriguing looks into their worlds, that can build sympathy for the raw&nbsp;effort even if the goal is morally wrong. There's few character archetypes as immediately compelling as the Magnificent Bastard, who sees the invisible strings of the world and makes it dance to his tune.</p><p>Except in games. Very, very few games have offered anything close to that, and those that have got closest either hide behind a shield of chaos (Saints Row, Postal 2, though believe me, those games are NOT on the same level) or play it off as tragedy (Spec Ops: The Line, Traffic Department 2192). Rarely do they&nbsp;dare to take anything but the Grand Theft Auto or Dungeon Keeper&nbsp;or Varicella&nbsp;(there's your obscure shout-out of the week) approach, where the main character is evil fighting against a bigger evil. Dungeon Keeper had the map and nominal heroes, but really the focus was on fighting other Dungeon Keepers. A later game with a similar vibe, Overlord, had you as an up and coming demonic presence fighting the forces of good, yes, but the forces of good who had long since been corrupted anyway, before revealing that the actual villain of the game was your predecessor who had been using you as nothing but a pawn.</p><p>When they do, it's usually a question of backstory. The protagonist of,&nbsp;say, Amnesia or Planescape Torment, gets to discover all manner of horrific things they did, but since the player isn't actually complicit in it, they don't feel 'real'. Evil can be done&nbsp;by accident, as Spec Ops: The Line repeatedly proves with its lead character Walker's slide from would-be saviour to destroyer of Dubai, but <em>villainy</em>&nbsp;has to be active. It's much the same as heroism not conventionally being seen as doing good deeds in exchange for something, at least in the modern era. (Go back to, say, Greek myths and it's actually nothing else - much of the&nbsp;Iliad for instance rests on Achilles' entirely justified backing out of the fight until he gets what's his, with his later 'crime' not being sulking in his tent, but&nbsp;not accepting the proper compensation&nbsp;when finally offered.)</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/v0Qh5wSeRgqr.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gAuXynz_nPYn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="With strategy, you're far enough back to rarely think of victims as 'people'. Squish 'em with tanks!" class=""> <figcaption>With strategy, you're far enough back to rarely think of victims as 'people'. Squish 'em with tanks!</figcaption></figure><p>Now, there are definite cases of villains being villains, even if they're up against bigger ones. Evil Genius for instance is a Bond villain simulator, Legacy of Kain is predicated on the original game's hero becoming a monster, Command and Conquer has never shied away from terrorist factions and very few of Star Wars: The Old Republic's Sith characters are intergalactic teddy-bears. You can definitely find examples. They're oddly rare though, given how initially tempting playing the villain always sounds. Who doesn't want that control? Who wouldn't want the nations of the world bowing before their might and power and hoping for a little crumb of mercy?</p><p>But even in the games that try, it rarely turns out as good as it sounds. For several reasons. The first is that for most people, the idea of being bad relies on being distant. It's one thing to torture a Sim or bulldoze a house in SimCity, but the more invested you are in characters, the harder it usually is to hurt them. Crushing spirits, inflicting needless pain, even something as mild as&nbsp;making children cry as you steal their lollipops doesn't feel good because it's not <em>supposed</em> to feel good. That's not villainy, it's <em>dickery</em>. And it can ruin games. I've no moral objection to Grand Theft Auto, but San Andreas routinely made me very uncomfortable, and not in a good way - the mission where you have to drown a music producer because he offended a friend you don't even like almost had me put down the controller. A later one where you bury a guy alive in concrete because his employees whistled at your sister was the end of my time with it. I later finished it on PC, but could never get past how bad it made me feel, despite having loved Vice City and its whimsical missions like selling drugs from an ice-cream truck. Only 'fun crime' is a fun time.&nbsp;</p><p>(This often seems to strike developers in mid-flow.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.questforinfamy.com">Quest for Infamy</a> for instance, which is a really well made take on the Quest for Glory games, was intended as a parody where you were a villain or at least in that ball-park. In practice, you do almost nothing that a hero wouldn't except for snarking at people, and occasionally making comments about things you could do, but then... ah,&nbsp;don't.)</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ha_3jAK8RkiB.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FpxbM5pgctju.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="My god, avert your eyes from his wickedness!" class=""> <figcaption>My god, avert your eyes from his wickedness!</figcaption></figure><p>Evil vs. Evil can at least&nbsp;run with this. You're not punching down in the same way, and there's the element of self-righteousness that tends to be core to actual villains. Very few in history have simply done what they did for the lulz, as it were; what makes them scary is that they thought they were right. This may not be the road to hell paved with good intentions, but neither is it one to just merrily skip down. In these situations, the powerful wage their war and simply don't care about the collateral damage as anything other than point-scoring. Or alternatively, play like Dr. Doom. Your own people are precious not because of the sanctity of life or anything like that, but because they're yours, and nobody <em>fucks with your shit</em>.</p><p>More pragmatically though, villainy is a hard path to offer. The standard story structure tends to be that villains act, heroes react. One provides a reason to save the world, the other handles it. Comic books especially have demonstrated that when this is flipped, bad things tend to happen - the greatest heroes quite easily slipping into fascism and abuse of their powers. The catch is that instigating actions is a much harder thing to script, and a less freeform thing to actually play. Heroes can be clever, but they tend in games at least to follow a roughly straight line through the problem, taking each encounter as it comes. Villains meanwhile need plans on top of plans, feints, bluffs, resources and a long term strategy that's far more complicated than 'go beat up the guy with the biggest shoulder pads.'</p><p>In games, this means that even when we get a 'villain' option, it's usually firmly in the 'dick' category. It's opportunistic cruelty, it's being mean to people, it's doing the stuff that would make you unpopular in the real world, and so doesn't exactly help in a fantasy one. The occasional burst of it can still be fun, like head butting the reporter in Mass Effect, or abusing your faked position to pass as a Sith in the first Knights of the Old Republic, but few narrative driven games allow for the ability to plan ahead enough to be anything other than that. Strategy games have a big advantage here of course, with Crusader Kings especially offering lots of options to play however you choose. Even then though, your imagination has to fill in many of the details and cover for when the game doesn't entirely get where you're going with things.</p><p>What's frustrating is that many developers, especially in RPG, still feel compelled to write villain paths that either make no sense or contribute very little indeed. Often, they're just crazy. The original Bioshock for instance opted to make killing a couple of the Little Sisters into your instant ticket to the bad ending, and while killing little girls for prizes obviously sounds bad, there are plenty of arguments to be made for it. That you're sparing them their horrible lives. That the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few (RIP, Leonard Nimoy). That they're simply zombies, no more people than the less cute splicers that are equally victims of Rapture but nobody gives a shit about. Any sense it makes is then further destroyed by the fact that there's no chance to atone once you find out the truth, which is particularly rich given that your "You are horrible" speech comes from a former concentration camp doctor trying to do <em>exactly that</em>.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UDR2EogGTn-u.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rElfEg8zmgWM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Like much of Bioshock, Bioshock 2 handled this much better..." class=""> <figcaption>Like much of Bioshock, Bioshock 2 handled this much better...</figcaption></figure><p>But, multiple paths sounds good on boxes, so many have tried to offer them. And I think we all know what that's actually translated to. "Good" is the karmically pure path, where you do good deeds nominally for the sake of doing them but really because you get more spiritual bonuses like XP or better 'nice' magic powers. "Bad" is having the temerity to ask for payment. "Evil" is being so twisted and dark that you actually expect to be paid something vaguely approaching a reasonable amount for having risked your life and probably burned through a ton of supplies in the process. You awful brute.</p><p>The result is that most players take the 'good' path by default, both because it's the heroic thing to do, and because it's almost always the most profitable overall. It's not like anyone's going to balance a game's economy so that you're screwed if you don't demand your cash, and it's a rare RPG where money doesn't become utterly irrelevant by around the half-way point. This in turn means that developers have to focus on this, and the 'evil' path gets very little love. There are very rarely many unique quests for players on that side of the line, with the main narrative branch point typically coming right at the end to save time. It ends up being less a choice as the vestigial <em>idea</em> of a choice. Really, unless a game is actually serious about it, like Planescape Torment, it's usually to its detriment to even offer something so out of character.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1VNr6ZYvTtmN.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5pD2W6lNBeSz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Planescape Torment allowed for some of the craziest opportunistic evil in the business, all horrible." class=""> <figcaption>Planescape Torment allowed for some of the craziest opportunistic evil in the business, all horrible.</figcaption></figure><p>Despite all this though, it would be good to see some more games that do this well, if only to have a better baseline than we do now. Nobody so much as raises an eyebrow at going to see a movie that glorifies gangsters or con artists or cat-burglars, even if most of them don't get away scot-free, and there's no reason why games should have that very visible frisson of tension and controversy for taking a walk on the wild side, be it something like Payday, or even - playing devil's advocate here - even a Hatred.</p><p>It's unlikely though that being evil is going to become more compelling in the near future. It may not eat away at your virtual soul, it may be a fun way to blow off steam now and again, but it's never going to have quite the internal warmth of helping people, making characters you care about happy, and making the world a better place. On a screen or off, empathy is always going to be more satisfying than sociopathy, especially &nbsp;when sprinkled with a few ways of reminding the world that being <em>nice</em> isn't the same as being <em>weak</em>. It is a lesson many villains learn to their cost.</p> Wasteland 2 is getting a visual upgradehttp://www.pcgamer.com/wasteland-2-is-getting-a-visual-upgrade/Thanks to updateto theUnity 5 engineSat, 28 Feb 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/wasteland-2-is-getting-a-visual-upgrade/inXile EntertainmentNewsRPGWasteland 2 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cbjEiCN8QzyE.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BqPC0WDPFvm1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wasteland 2"></p><p>Wasteland 2 isn't the prettiest game in the world, although it is one of the brownest, it taking place in the irradiated desert an' all. Of course, fancy images aren't the reason&nbsp;you play a game like this&mdash;but it can't hurt, as long as it doesn't put a strain on your PC. inXile have&nbsp;<a href="http://wastelandrpg.tumblr.com/post/112229660441/kickstarter-update-60-work-work-never-changes" target="_blank">just announced</a> that a visual upgrade is coming to Wasteland 2, thanks to them moving the game engine over&nbsp;from Unity 4.5 to Unity 5. Unity 5, you might be aware, features something called "physically based shading", which...look I'm no shading expert, alright?&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.unity3d.com/2014/10/29/physically-based-shading-in-unity-5-a-primer/" target="_blank">Here's a big explanation</a> from Unity. 'Nicer graphics', basically.</p><p>That isn't the only thing coming to Wasteland 2&mdash;modders should soon be getting some new tools too.</p><p>"In pursuit of this goal," project lead Chris Keenan writes in that Kickstarter update,&nbsp;"one task we’re working on right now is migrating the Wasteland 2 codebase from the Unity 4.5 engine to Unity 5, which will enable some new possibilities for us. A major benefit of moving to Unity 5 is that 5 will include many of the tools from Unity 4.x Pro. We relied on many of these tools during our development (like creating and building navigation meshes), and they will be available to modders without having to pay thousands of dollars for a Pro Unity license. There is no doubt that this migration will allow us to release better tools for modding to our community in the future."</p><p>"As well as visual improvements, we have quite a few quirky tricks up our sleeves. The character system is getting perked up and will include some new elements to modify gameplay. Of course, more details will be released in the future so stay tuned!"</p><p>Ta,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bluesnews.com/s/159472/wasteland-2-visual-upgrade-coming" target="_blank">Blue's News</a>.</p> Resident Evil: Revelations 2 gets local co-op modhttp://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-revelations-2-gets-local-co-op-mod/Modders to the rescue, again.Sat, 28 Feb 2015 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-revelations-2-gets-local-co-op-mod/CapcomHorrorModsNewsResident Evil Revelations 2 <iframe width="636" height="353" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/w6TlgOL-QN0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>People were rightly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/local-co-op-cut-from-resident-evil-revelations-2-crowd-goes-wild/" target="_blank">a bit upset</a> that&nbsp;Resident Evil: Revelations 2's first episode didn't feature local co-op on PC, despite the game description stating that it did, and despite Capcom never mentioning that it <em>didn't. </em>The good news is that Capcom is offering refunds if you're annoyed by its omission on PC&mdash;the <em>other</em> good news is that a&nbsp;modder has already whipped up&nbsp;a replacement.</p><p>Resident&nbsp;Evil Modder FluffyQuack already has a working (mostly)&nbsp;co-op mod, a mere few days after the first&nbsp;episode has&nbsp;come out. It's not quite done&nbsp;yet&mdash;it only supports gamepads, and you can't use it in Raid mode&mdash;&nbsp;but you can see a&nbsp;glimpse at it in action above, and download it&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com//sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=399758133" target="_blank">here</a>, as part of FluffyQuack's extensive Fluffy Manager 5000 tool.</p><p>Meanwhile, Capcom are "currently looking into the matter and potential solutions and we hope to have new information to share very soon, so please stay tuned". They're already offering refunds&mdash;could an <em>official</em> local co-op mode be on its way via a patch, or via next week's Episode 2?</p> Crowfall Kickstarter funded in under three dayshttp://www.pcgamer.com/crowfall-kickstarter-funded-in-under-three-days/That sure didn't take long.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:15:56 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/crowfall-kickstarter-funded-in-under-three-days/CrowfallMMONews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bkuzcRR6R9eo.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/B2UcJtZq6QFe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Crowfall C1Gameplay"></p><p>It's still very early days for Crowfall, the MMO we <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/crowfall-preview-an-mmo-you-can-win-again-and-again/">previewed earlier this week</a>, but even at this stage it's attracting an awful lot of attention: Less than three days after it began, the Crowfall Kickstarter has blown past its $800,000 funding goal. </p><p>Developer ArtCraft Entertainment describes Crowfall as a "massively multiplayer online throne war simulator," and unlike other MMOs, this one will feature discrete battles, with distinct beginnings and endings, that take place across multiple worlds. Development is being headed by two veterans of the MMO business, Gordon Walton, formerly the executive producer of Ultima Online, The Sims Online, Star Wars: Galaxies, and Star Wars: The Old Republic, and J. Todd Coleman, creative director on Shadowbane, Wizard 101, and Pirate 101. </p><p>"We are floored and humbled by the response from our community," Walton said. "We hoped that the vision behind Crowfall would help it find an audience, but we didn’t expect to exceed our target so quickly."</p><p>In fact, Crowfall didn't even offer any stretch goals until <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crowfall/crowfall-throne-war-pc-mmo/posts/1147339">yesterday</a>, when ArtCraft tossed out a couple in an update: First, to hire a dedicated FX artist, and second, to implement mounts and caravans. Interestingly, neither stretch goal has a dollar amount attached, but how quickly the money is rolling in&mdash;and with 27 days left to go&nbsp;in the Kickstarter&mdash;I'd say it's a good bet they'll be achieved.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crowfall/crowfall-throne-war-pc-mmo">Crowfall Kickstarter</a> runs until March 26. </p> No One Lives Forever re-release isn't happening after allhttp://www.pcgamer.com/no-one-lives-forever-re-release-isnt-happening-after-all/Night Dive Studios is throwing in the towel.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:14:02 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/no-one-lives-forever-re-release-isnt-happening-after-all/FPSMonolith ProductionsNewsNight Dive StudiosNo One Lives ForeverWarner Bros Interactive <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/D2H1lSVzRiG2.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2a5gupO7nW3v.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="No One Lives Forever"></p><p>Night Dive Studios <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/no-one-lives-forever-trademark-filing-hints-at-possible-re-release/">filed for a trademark</a> on No One Lives Forever last year, which was cause for celebration not only because NOLF was such a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/no-one-lives-forever-review/">great game</a> but also because Night Dive seemed like the ideal outfit to bring it to modern platforms: They're the guys who were finally able to resurrect <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/system-shock-2-arrives-on-steam/">System Shock 2</a>, after all. But studio founder Stephen Kick has told <a href="http://kotaku.com/the-sad-story-behind-a-dead-pc-game-that-cant-come-back-1688358811">Kotaku</a> that after months of trying to nail down the rights to the game and make something happen, it's all come to naught.</p><p>The first and foremost challenge facing Night Dive was figuring out who actually owned the rights to the game. It was developed by Monolith and published by Fox Interactive, but in the decade-and-a-half since it came out, Monolith was acquired by Warner Bros. Interactive, while Fox Interactive was purchased by Vivendi, which then entered into a merger with Activision. Warner appeared to be the primary rights holder but told Night Dive that Activision "has some ownership" as well, as a result of that merger.; Activision, however, said it couldn't confirm its standing because the records predated digital storage and it wasn't entirely sure where the paperwork was. 20th Century Fox, which Night Dive also contacted, was in the same boat.</p><p>There wasn't much enthusiasm for the idea of re-releasing NOLF from anyone, according to the report, but the wheels didn't come off entirely until December 2014, when Night Dive received a letter from an attorney representing Warner that threatened legal action if it went ahead with a new version of the game. That led to further back-and-forth regarding licensing, but in February the final word came down that Warner wasn't interested in either publishing an updated NOLF itself, or partnering with Night Dive to make it happen. Because of that, Night Dive said it will now let its trademark on the title lapse.</p><p>It's a tremendously disappointing outcome. No One Lives Forever was a brilliant game (the sequel was pretty good, too) and it's an absolute shame that corporate indifference has left it trapped in limbo. I still hold out hope that it will be released again someday, but obviously it's not going to be anytime soon.</p> The week's highs and lows in PC gaminghttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_feb27/Each week PC Gamer’s writers hurl their pens into a lake in the hope a spectral hand reaches to catch one of them.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:50:10 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_feb27/highs and lows <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5ztWsyrgSX-C.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7dVnKdJhdYd7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gta 5 14"></p><p> <strong> THE HIGHS</strong></p><p> <strong>Phil Savage: GTA 5 delayed again<br> </strong>Yeah, why not? GTA 5 was delayed again this week&mdash;slipping a further three weeks to April 14. I'm fine with this. First, there's the whole better game thing. If it means smoother performance and less bugs, a three week wait is probably worth it. More than that, though, I'm kind of enjoying the quiet spell we're currently in. I've begun a new campaign in Crusader Kings 2, plodded through a couple of levels of Warlords of Draenor, and even started to learn Dota 2. For reasons that may not be entirely reasonable or accurate, GTA 5 feels to me like the opening of 2015's big PC release cycle. It's the start of the process that will end with me drowning in a seemingly endless stream of new stuff; unable to sample it all because it just won't stop. That'll be fun, don't get me wrong. But I don't mind putting it off for a few more weeks.</p><p> <strong>Tom Marks: Back from Funkotron<br> </strong>I love Toejam and Earl. I am so excited for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/toejam-and-earl-creator-seeks-sequel-support-on-kickstarter/">more Toejam and Earl</a>. I am terrified that $400,000 on <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1578116861/toejam-and-earl-back-in-the-groove?ref=discovery">Kickstarter</a> for a sequel to a 24 year-old cult classic game is asking a lot, but man even that can’t bring down my mood when success means more Toejam and Earl. Oh lord, please let there be there be more Toejam and Earl.</p><p> My excitement aside, watching creator Greg Brown’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lC-f-s0XbQ">Kickstarter pitch video</a> was a wonderful and rare insight into how publishers influence games and the good crowdfunding can do. Humanature Studios’ is reaching out to fans so that they beholden to no one but the people who will play the game, and they are doing it at a time when couch co-op PC games are on the rise. Although I, like a good number of others, am unsure about the new art direction they’ve gone with, I am in full support of them finally making the funky game they want to make. I’ll be happy as long as I can rocket skate around listening to this:&nbsp;</p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/121069220&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"> </iframe><p> <br> <strong>Chris Thursten: It’s not about the money, but, y’know, money<br> </strong>I’m pleased that ESL are <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/esl-announces-1-million-prize-pool-for-2015-dota-2-series/">increasing their investment</a> in Dota 2 this year, chiefly because it guarantees respectable prize pools without over-reliance on the community. This <a href="http://www.joindota.com/en/news/23741-should-valve-separate-items-and-tickets">JoinDota article</a> (which I also linked to in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-make-war-not-hats/">this week’s Three Lane Highway</a>) illustrates some of the dangers of the current system, particularly the undue influence of cosmetic sets on tournament revenues and, ultimately, the amount of money that goes to players. Greater investment from showrunners doesn’t solve that problem, but it is a salve.</p><p> ESL do have a bit of work to do, however, Nobody wants to see ESL One New York 2014’s technical problems resurface, and Frankfurt 2014 struggled to keep things on-schedule. As their events move to ever higher-profile venues, I’d like to see a redoubled focus on the small details that can mean everything when a tournament is actually underway.x</p><p> <strong>Evan Lahti: Blade Beach Adventurers<br> </strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sword-coast-legends-is-a-dd-rpg-due-later-this-year/">Sword Coast Legends</a> not only has the same number of syllables as <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IqH3uliwJY">Zoot Suit Riot</a>, a quality we value in all games (because now you have that song in your head, but with different words, heh), it also looks like a splendid successor to the Forgotten Realms games of yore: Baldur’s, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale, et al.</p><p> We have plenty of excellent, old-school RPGs to pick from&mdash;recent and upcoming&mdash;Pillars of Eternity, Divinity, Torment, Legend of Grimrock II. But Sword Coast Legends represents that malleable, self-authored style of RPG that past and present D&amp;D players long for. It’s exciting to see that it’ll have a campaign editor&mdash;in an era where user-created stuff is integrated so seamlessly through systems like Steam Workshop, and with the general resurgence <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/best-board-games/">of tabletop games</a>, it’s the perfect time for Sword Coast to spring up.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7bmsQjM4QAiw.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/igE3uuCZ3lnv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cities Skylines Slide"></p><p> <strong>Chris Livingston: Mod Squad<br> </strong>As someone who tries out a handful of mods every week for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mod-of-the-week/">our weekly mod column</a>, it's always a headache installing mods when they're not officially supported. And that's just for me: I can only imagine the hoops actual modders need to leap through to get their mods working when they're not officially sanctioned. So, it's always heartening when mod support is included in a game from the get-go.</p><p> We learned this week that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-devs-give-commitment-to-modding-support/">Cities: Skylines plans to include mod support</a>, which immediately gives it a step up over SimCity. They've <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj2paF9IcqM#t=25">released a video announcing their support for modders</a> and there's <a href="http://www.skylineswiki.com/Modding#Buildings">more specific information on the wiki</a>. Cities: Skylines isn't out until March 10, but this is good news both for modders and those who enjoy them.</p><p> <strong>Samuel Roberts: Canada loves Sam Roberts, apparently<br> </strong>This is only tangentially related to games, to be honest (at best), but It would be remiss not to mention the most interesting thing that happened to me this week: I went on <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-wednesday-edition-1.2971666">national radio in Canada</a> because I’m called Sam Roberts. It’s only funny because it’s <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-wednesday-edition-1.2971666/will-the-real-sam-roberts-please-stand-up-1.2972580">so far from being actual news</a> that I still have no idea why it even happened. It must’ve been the slowest day of news ever for that to be a story. Then people wouldn’t stop talking about the colour of a dress across the whole of the internet (they still won’t, to be honest) and that was somehow even more pointless.</p><p> Anyway, on a more game-specific front, I briefly revisited Remedy’s brilliant Max Payne 2 this week and I’m going through it again. I enjoyed Max Payne 3 a lot, but it wasn’t really the sequel to this game, nor did it touch on the compelling and melodramatic romance at the centre of the second entry. I plan on writing something a little longer at some point about The Fall of Max Payne. Big games with a tone that’s as specific as Max Payne 2’s are rare now; it features a whole level set in the collapsing set of a theme park based on an in-universe TV show. It’s that kind of wildly inventive direction that I love about Remedy games, and playing with this refined iteration of bullet time recalls an era in which third-person shooters weren’t entirely dependent on moving between bits of cover.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SKvrRwwDSoOn.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KXi2ZcLuhSCJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gta 5 15"></p><p><strong> THE LOWS</strong></p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: Another GTA V delay</strong><br>I was really looking forward to playing GTA V four weeks from now, having completed the console version about 15 months ago&mdash;another delay happened this week, meaning we’ll now be playing in April instead. I’m fine with it, but this is a pretty quiet time for big releases and I was prepared to sink hundreds of hours into stealing jets from Fort Zancudo, which is pretty much all I did from about October 2013-January 2014. On the plus side, Rockstar <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/new-gta-5-pc-screenshots-show-detail-and-refinements/">released a bunch of amazing screens</a> in time for the weekend. The detail is insane compared to the original console versions, of course, and just makes me more excited about the finished result when it finally gets here.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Chris Livingston: I suck at building<br></strong>I made <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/besiege-gameplay-slaying-soldiers-and-sheep-with-unlikely-machines/">a Besiege video</a> a couple weeks ago, and was quite pleased with some of my creations, like a triple catapult and a spiky hopping table with spinning blades. Naturally, the moment I posted it the real builders of the internet swarmed in and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/30-incredible-machines-built-by-the-besiege-community/">made some amazing, terrifying, fantastic creations</a>, putting my crummy, dinky murder engines to shame.</p><p>I've been playing Medieval Engineers this week, and after <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/medieval-engineers-the-best-videos-for-learning-to-build-and-destroy/">looking at some videos</a> I'm once again discovering just how terrible I am at building things. This happened in Minecraft, too. This happened in Space Engineers. This happened in pretty much every building game, ever. I toil away for hours, thinking I've constructed something great, only to look up from my work and see that the entire world is doing it better.</p><p>I don't begrudge anyone their talent. I just wish I had some of it! I wish I could clamp onto their necks, lamprey-like, and extract some of their skills into my own fumbling fingers and lackluster imagination. I like building games, but there are few things as discouraging as being continually reminded you stink at something you enjoy.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dyIgXm31T1KE.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jvi0TftAyUgx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Supernova Slide"></p><p><strong>Tom Marks: Mo’ MOBAs, mo’ problems<br></strong>I cannot for the life of me understand why any publisher would want to make a free-to-play MOBA right now. By my eyes, it’s an oversaturated genre that is overwhelmingly dominated by only the top games. But that didn’t stop Bandai Namco from announcing a new “groundbreaking” and “revolutionary” MOBA this week, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/supernova-hands-on-bandai-namcos-sci-fi-moba/">Supernova</a>. I had a chance to play it, and while the sci-fi theme was refreshing and some of the mechanics were unique to the genre, Supernova hasn’t yet given me a reason to play it over any of the obvious choices. My fear is that it will come out with little fanfare, will gather a small but loyal fanbase, and then be forgotten.</p><p>The problem is Supernova doesn’t do anything different enough. It felt like <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends/">League of Legends</a> in space, but with a much more complicated leveling up system. Primal Game Studio’s idea to bring RTS elements back to the MOBA is a great one, but it felt half-hearted when I actually got my hands on it. Primal said that their early prototypes allowed you to control your minions and didn’t have hero characters at all, but was still the traditional three-lane MOBA, and that sounds like a game I’d like to try. That would actually be a unique approach to the genre, but the concept was changed and we now have more of the same. I could enjoy more of the same, but I’m not going to fall in love with it.</p><p><strong>Evan Lahti: LLAP<br></strong>We were deeply saddened to learn of Leonard Nimoy’s death. Nimoy only has a handful of videogame credits, but even in those modest contributions he managed to make an impact on one of the best PC games of all time, as the narrator of Civilization IV. His wizened cadence perfectly suited Civ’s spirit of historical exploration and thoughtful play. We’re lucky to have a beloved person such as Nimoy immortalized in a great game.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lCykB4mCytE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><strong>Phil Savage: Ugh, fine, I give in<br></strong>Fine internet, you win. I've gone 30-years without, but I guess I'll watch a Star Wars film. It's going to be unavoidable, isn't it? There's a new film coming out, there are new games planned, and the team have spent the last couple of days joking about their imagined pitch for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-star-wars-games-we-really-want-to-see/">Jizz Band</a>, because jizz is literally the name of a music genre in Star Wars. I don't really care about the story, and I've always preferred my sci-fi a little more serious, but if there's jizz jokes flying around, I don't want to miss out. Also, some of the games sound genuinely great, so it should at least be tolerable.</p><p><strong>Chris Thursten: Devolutionary design<br></strong>I want to like Evolve as much as Evan does, but I just&hellip; don’t. I was excited to get started with it, and I should love it: I’m a fan of Left 4 Dead, I grew up playing asymmetrical Half-Life 1 mods like The Hidden and Vampire Slayer. I even ran an Aliens vs. Predator 2 skinning site. I resonate pretty strongly with the type of experience that Evolve promises. And yet.</p><p>Part of the problem is structural. I find sprawling unlock trees wearying, and the fact that it’s so difficult to simply buy a version of the game that comes with everything compounds my reluctance to invest time in it. With a competitive game, I want to experiment. I want to try different options, find one that suits me, and take it as far as I can. Evolve punishes that. Earlier, while playing as the monster, I fancied a round as the Goliath&mdash;but I need more Kraken points to unlock Wraith, so I played Kraken. Unlock systems are garbage, anti-competitive, and fundamentally off-putting to me. Just let me play the game, developers, please.</p><p>The second issue is design, and that’s arguably more serious. Playing Evolve (as both factions) often feels like chasing your tail, and that’s because the game seems to be trapped chasing its tail. It wants to be a game about atmospheric, immersive monster-hunting, but it also wants to be a competitive game with fifteen-minute rounds. It takes a bunch of interesting ideas&mdash;tracking the player-monster by looking for environmental signs like broken trees, birds rising&mdash;and sands the edges off them to the point where they amount to a flashing indicator saying ‘GO HERE’. Likewise, there seems to be no elegant way to balance its complex web of monster movement, player movement and various monster-snaring powers, so they just added a big dome that forces everybody to fight for a bit. Disappointingly graceless.</p><p>I keep playing it, however, and that’s largely because I want to understand it better. I want to get to the point where it feels like there’s a strategy other than ‘chase the waypoint and try not to die’. It’s such an interesting idea that I’m desperate for it to succeed, but it really falls short of my expectations.</p> How to turn your games into real-time ASCII arthttp://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-turn-your-games-into-real-time-ascii-art/withwith a coolnew SweetFX 2.0 shader.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:55:32 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-turn-your-games-into-real-time-ascii-art/ <iframe style="display: block; margin: auto;" src="http://gfycat.com/ifr/GiftedUltimateAfricanbushviper" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="716" height="398"> </iframe><p> The other day I was experimenting with post-processing injection, and&nbsp;I was shocked to&nbsp;discover that no one told me the recently-released SweetFX 2.0 beta&nbsp;shader pack <em>has an ASCII shader</em>. Holy hell!&nbsp;It's the coolest, least practical post-processing effect ever.</p><p> You can get the SweetFX 2.0 beta&nbsp;shaders bundled with&nbsp;<a href="http://reshade.me/" target="_blank">ReShade</a>. If you've never played with shader injection (which you should because it's a lot of fun), here's the quick guide to playing in&nbsp;ASCII:</p><ul> <li><a href="http://reshade.me/" target="_blank">Download ReShade + SweetFX 2.0 here</a> and extract it into a new folder.</li> <li>In the SweetFX folder, open SweetFX_settings.txt and change the value of #define USE_ASCII to 1.</li> <li>Run&nbsp;ReShade Setup.exe and navigate to the .exe of the game you want to ASCIIify (i.e.&nbsp;C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Broforce\Broforce_beta.exe). This will not alter the executable or other game files and you can reverse it later.</li> <li>If it works (it won't for every game), ReShade will auto-detect the game's Direct3D or OpenGL version. Now just run it! Scroll Lock will turn post-processing on and off. <em>Note: Not recommended for multiplayer games, as it may be mistaken for cheating software.</em></li></ul><p> Below&nbsp;are screens from some of Wes and my experiments. Some games work better than others&mdash;the best look comes from high-contrast games (there are only so many shades between black and white that can be represented with ASCII characters), especially those with lots of hard, straight lines.</p><p>If you want to share your own in the comments, hit Print Screen to save a screenshot to the game's directory and then&nbsp;upload it to an image sharing site like&nbsp;<a href="http://imgur.com/" target="_blank">Imgur</a>.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zS2d8-mNTlS7.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DoKpgrrtR3_D.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wreckfest 2015-02-26 17-04-04" class="" style="display: block; margin: auto;"> <figcaption>Wreckfest (Next Car Game)</figcaption></figure><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9369sWmlRxOP.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hqhbprckkoKh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="BioShockInfinite 2015-02-26 15-52-18" class=""> <figcaption>BioShock Infinite</figcaption></figure><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Yzue39bCRTWr.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RVR1wS8NT-f2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bio4 2015-02-25 20-18-31" class=""> <figcaption>Resident Evil 4<br> </figcaption></figure><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TMOQi5p6SPeS.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qF270Al5yK0j.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="TheWolfAmongUs 2015-02-26 08-20-36-02" class=""><figcaption>The Wolf Among Us</figcaption></figure><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/g4O-OO5vSJan.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DWq6bE9CK7va.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="DarkSoulsII 2015-02-25 20-12-29" class=""><figcaption>Dark Souls II</figcaption></figure><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XrOTyHSfT722.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zu81DWVoSRR9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="HotlineGL 2015-02-26 13-47-50" class=""><figcaption>Hotline Miami</figcaption></figure><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZtbKwmq1Sdqs.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5MOgceskWwn1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="MassEffect 2015-02-26 16-09-44" class=""> <figcaption>Mass&nbsp;Effect&nbsp;</figcaption></figure><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/R5qDx3veTD2a.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2eawk37YDZAr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GoneHome 2015-02-25 20-15-10" class=""><figcaption>Gone Home</figcaption></figure><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/38_P4Hf-R5-L.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Vm8HDAKIlja9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Broforce_beta 2015-02-26 08-02-40" class=""> <figcaption>Broforce</figcaption></figure><p> <em>I'm sure you don't actually want to play anything with ASCII enabled, so here's how to remove ReShade entirely from a game. Head to the game executable's&nbsp;directory and delete Sweet.fx, the SweetFX folder, and whichever of the following DLLs it copied in: OpenGL32.dll, dxgi.dll, d3d9.dll, or d3d8.dll. Alternatively, you can just turn off ASCII in the SweetFX settings, try some other post-processing effects, and use ReShade again to replace the previous installation.</em></p> Life is Strange episode two is delayed, but nobody knows for how longhttp://www.pcgamer.com/life-is-strange-episode-two-is-delayed-but-nobody-knows-for-how-long/Dontnod is still hoping to have the second episode out before the end of March.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:43:59 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/life-is-strange-episode-two-is-delayed-but-nobody-knows-for-how-long/AdventureDontnod EntertainmentLife Is StrangeNewsSquare Enix <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oRsF7vA1RdSc.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EAz5pqu-ASZz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Life is Strange"></p><p>The second episode of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/life-is-strange/">Life is Strange</a> has been delayed, although by exactly how much is unclear. A Square Enix rep told <a href="http://www.destructoid.com/square-enix-life-is-strange-episode-2-delayed-288310.phtml">Destructoid</a> that it had been pushed back to an unannounced date, but developer Dontnod Entertainment more recently <a href="https://twitter.com/LifeIsStrange/status/571313925372977152">tweeted</a> that development is "on track" and that it's "looking to release it before the end of March."</p><p>The studio repeated the statement, in slightly expanded form, on <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/319630/announcements/detail/116303508705004424">Steam</a>. "We’ve been asked to clear up the question of when Episode 2 will be released since there have been rumours of a delay. We would like to assure everyone that development is on track and we’re looking to release it before the end of March," a rep wrote. "Thanks for all your support so far&mdash;we’ve loved reading all your feedback and comments."</p><p>Of course, "looking to" is a slightly more optimistic way of "hoping to," which means the episode may well end up coming out in April or beyond. And even if it does make that end-of-March target, it would still represent a delay of sorts: Producer Luc Baghadoust said on <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/2tu8zx/life_is_strange_reddit_ama_with_the_dontnod_team/co2elqb">Reddit</a> last month that Dontnod would "like to achieve" a release schedule of one episode every six weeks, which would have the second episode ready to go on March 13. But that's far from carved in stone, and even though it's still possible&mdash;March 13 is "before the end of March," after all&mdash;the wording of the statement makes it sound unlikely.</p><p>The first episode of the metaphysical mystery Life is Strange came out at the end of January, and was apparently <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/life-is-strange-episode-one-review/">quite good</a>. </p> PC Gamer Show: Are arena shooters coming back?http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show-are-arena-shooters-coming-back/Evan, Tyler, and Wes talk about the returnof one of the PC's most beloved genres: the arena shooter.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show-are-arena-shooters-coming-back/arena shootersFPSPC Gamer Show <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Nrm_XlXGV8w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Evan, Tyler, and Wes talk about the death (and return?) of one of the PC's most beloved genres: the arena shooter. Toxikk, Ratz Instagib, Unreal Tournament, and the next Doom all get a mention.</p><p> And, as usual, we answer your questions about PC gaming.Will e-sports become real sports? Is digital distribution making games buggier?</p><p> <em style="background-color: initial;"><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show/">The PC Gamer Show</a></em><em style="background-color: initial;"> appears every Friday. Hit us with PC gaming questions in the comments, and we might answer them in next week's episode! Or tweet </em><a href="http://twitter.com/pcgamer">@pcgamer</a><em style="background-color: initial;"> with a question using the hashtag #AskPCGamer.</em></p> Sublevel Zero promises Descent-like action in a roguelike worldhttp://www.pcgamer.com/sublevel-zero-promises-descent-like-action-in-a-roguelike-world/The Sublevel Zero prototype debuted last year at Ludum Dare 29.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:47:45 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/sublevel-zero-promises-descent-like-action-in-a-roguelike-world/FPSmastertronicNewsSigtrapSublevel Zero <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0vM4FGes3g8?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/327880">Sublevel Zero</a> is a six-degrees-of-freedom "roguelike shooter" with procedurally generated levels, scarce resources, and permadeath. Sounds like fun!&nbsp;</p><p>No, really, it does.&nbsp;The setup is simple: Reality is falling apart for reasons unclear, and thus it falls to you to pilot a lone gunship through zero-gravity environments to loot and craft the technology needed to keep your clan alive. That's really about it as far as story goes, but it's adequate; after all, do you remember why you were flying around and blowing up all those robots in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/descent-3-gave-gravity-the-finger/">Descent</a>?</p><p> Sublevel Zero actually debuted in prototype form in <a href="http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-29/?action=preview&amp;uid=29064">Ludum Dare 29</a>. Its heritage is obvious, but it's the roguelike twist that makes it particularly interesting. Levels will be different on every playthrough, and once you die, that's it: Saving and reloading isn't an option.</p><p> "Sublevel Zero has been inspired by our favorite games of our formative years like Descent, Forsaken and modern shooters like Teleglitch," designer Luke Thompson said. "We wanted to blend retro and modern elements through the visuals, mechanics and audio, and the awesome music composed by <a href="http://willbedfordmusic.co.uk/">Will Bedford</a> intensifies the gameplay experience. Sublevel Zero is a game we want to play, and we’d love for fellow gamers to share in that experience."</p><p> Sublevel Zero is expected to come out sometime this summer. And now, screens!</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sGcC3R24RbuY.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/V_N2qLryMfHm.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sublevel Zero"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LaRvCir-RjSS.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TZWJD6v3kaeF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sublevel 1"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fO-ggq_qQfaK.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cIosL-NyrtB3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sublevel Zero"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/istq798OR5ey.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/D7DuV6TuIEMV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sublevel3"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DU2-MDSORWq7.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0r91ggYYZKOY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sublevel Zero"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/m9gI48R1T22k.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uJMGYsQhFNvq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sublevel Zero"></p> Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter reaches its goalhttp://www.pcgamer.com/underworld-ascendant-kickstarter-reaches-its-goal/The stretch goals have been changed up to make some of them more achievable.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 18:03:09 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/underworld-ascendant-kickstarter-reaches-its-goal/KickstarterNewsOtherSide EntertainmentRPGUnderworld Ascendant <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HTYNtywNSWyk.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DsoEM8TQCMkt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Underworld Ascendant"></p><p>It took longer than I expected for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/underworld-ascendant/">Underworld Ascendant</a> to hit its Kickstarter goal, although that can be&nbsp;put down to my powerful, nostalgic love for the game, and the strange notion&nbsp;that other people might not feel quite&nbsp;the same way. In any event, <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/othersidegames/underworld-ascendant">the line has been crossed</a>, and with six days remaining in the campaign the focus is now on passing some stretch goals.</p><p>Recognizing that the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter is not the red-hot, runaway success of, say, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/what-happens-if-shadowrun-hong-kong-raises-1-million/">Shadowrun: Hong Kong</a>, the OtherSide Entertainment team has rejiggered the stretch goals a bit to make some of them more achievable. "Once it became apparent that we would not necessarily be zooming up and past the $1.2M stretch goal, we decided that it made more sense to break out the $150,000 big stretch goals into 3 smaller $50,000 chunks each," the latest <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/othersidegames/underworld-ascendant/posts/1149122">Kickstarter update</a> explains. "Breaking it out like this gives the community a better chance to reach at least 1 or 2 of the 3 original features within whatever stretch goal we end up in, rather than making it an all-or-nothing proposition."</p><p>They've also swapped the Necropolis area and Haunt monster with the Underswamp and Lizardmen, which it said are similar in scope. The change was made because the Lizardmen "seem to be a fan favorite," and the studio wanted to increase the odds that they'll be included.</p><p>In a <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/othersidegames/underworld-ascendant/posts/1148942">separate update</a> posted earlier today, studio chief Paul Neurath said the team has recently been working with an Oculus Rift developer kit, but based on hardware limitations, expense, and the tiny number of people who actually have the thing, it's not ready to commit to supporting VR in the game. "We will be staying on top of upcoming advances in the technology, and spending a bit more time doing experiments over the coming months," he wrote. "But until we get to a point where we are confident that the hardware is ready, and that we could deliver a great experience, we need to wait and see."</p><p>The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter will come to an end on March 6.</p> Medieval Engineers: the best videos for learning to build and destroyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/medieval-engineers-the-best-videos-for-learning-to-build-and-destroy/ Taking a look at cool buildings and cooler ways of knocking them over.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:43:30 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/medieval-engineers-the-best-videos-for-learning-to-build-and-destroy/Keen Software HouseMedieval EngineerssimTutorialVideos <p> While we've all been intrigued, impressed, and occasionally horrified by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/30-incredible-machines-built-by-the-besiege-community/">the creations springing forth&nbsp;from&nbsp;Besiege</a>, there's a&nbsp;rather more serious medieval&nbsp;sandbox out there waiting to&nbsp;tempt your&nbsp;building skills.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.medievalengineers.com/">Medieval Engineers</a>, from Keen Software House,&nbsp;the&nbsp;makers of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/space-engineers/">Space Engineers</a>, is now&nbsp;in Early Access&nbsp;if you're looking to build some castles and then knock them down.</p><p> I've spent a little time in Medieval&nbsp;Engineers recently, and a little more time watching videos to understand just how to build something that actually works. If you've started playing yourself, or are interested in doing so,&nbsp;here's a selection of videos that might be of interest.</p><p> <strong>Basic Construction<br></strong>From Arron of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/LastStandGamers">Last Stand Gamers</a>, a nice&nbsp;introduction to the basics of how controls work, how to build blocks within blocks,&nbsp;and how to get started building&nbsp;the medieval city of your medieval&nbsp;dreams.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wzs4rj7d7aY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> <strong>Catapult<br></strong>This tutorial from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/Beausafk">xBeau Gaming</a> will help you put together your first catapult. It also demonstrates how hard it can be to hit the thing you're aiming at.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kalQO3gouzQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> <strong>Floating Arm Trebuchet<br></strong>One of the more impressive&nbsp;and complicated&nbsp;siege engine designs I've seen is from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChn50gGegULImIZsoBQ06Cg">w4stedspace</a>, who built a giant&nbsp;floating arm trebuchet.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/e3NGbhd1A7E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> <strong>Windmill<br></strong>A quick and concise tutorial on how to build a windmill from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/IamPetard">IamPetard</a>.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_PdeJVROqV8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">Working Clocktower<br></strong>This is impressive. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/Ironvos">Ironvos</a> has built a lovely looking and structurally sound clock tower. The clock works, too,&nbsp;though it runs about 15 times real speed. Take a tour, won't you?</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/k0CwTmezoCY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><strong>Helm's Deep<br></strong>Looking for something a bit bigger?&nbsp;Steam workshop user <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=394806372">Timathius</a> created this massive replica of Helm's Deep from Lord of the Rings. You can tour it in this dramatic video from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIpixsFaSq_eIGvAtzq-f0g">I Played Gamezz</a>.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mbc21MdSzkk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">Destruction<br></strong>Building is only half the fun: knocking everything down is the rest. In this video,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/ICBMRaptor2">Raptor</a> takes you on a tour of his detailed&nbsp;medieval city, and then proceeds to reduce the entire thing to rubble. <a href="http://youtu.be/yUG-pE61uu4?t=12m16s">The destruction begins at 12:16</a>.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yUG-pE61uu4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> <strong>More Destruction<br></strong>Some more fun footage of buildings falling down, this time from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/GameStarDE">Gamestar</a>,&nbsp;who includes&nbsp;some important&nbsp;lessons on structural integrity so your buildings <em style="background-color: initial;">won't</em> fall down (until you want them to).</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ICn1xZN1Q-M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">Barbarians<br></strong>NPCs, in the form of barbarians, we added in a recent update.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/SleepArtGameEat">Video Sage</a> puts the new NPCs&nbsp;through the paces.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jjZBeaqvTvI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p>Naturally, the game has <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4-eBJaa6mY">its own&nbsp;alpha tutorial video</a>, worth checking out as well.</p> Star Wars games we really want to seehttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-star-wars-games-we-really-want-to-see/This year the world's going to go Star Wars mad, here are a some entirely seriouspitches for great accompanying games that we'd love to see.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:08:41 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-star-wars-games-we-really-want-to-see/ActionAdventureStar WarsStar Wars Jedi KnightStar Wars: Knights of the Old RepublicStar Wars: X-Wing New GTA 5 PC screenshots show "detail and refinements"http://www.pcgamer.com/new-gta-5-pc-screenshots-show-detail-and-refinements/Damnit Rockstar, you tease.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:40:21 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/new-gta-5-pc-screenshots-show-detail-and-refinements/ActionGrand Theft Auto VNewsRockstar Europa Universalis 4 gets free weekend, El Dorado expansion releasedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/europa-universalis-4-gets-free-weekend-el-dorado-expansion-released/Conquer for free, or conquer more with DLC.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:19:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/europa-universalis-4-gets-free-weekend-el-dorado-expansion-released/Europa Universalis 4NewsParadoxStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9DisRShISBeu.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6P3ENzLxbezX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Europa Universalis IV preview thumb large"></p><p>If maps and menus are your thing, you could do worse than checking out Europa Universalis 4&mdash;something you can do this weekend for absolutely no money at all.</p><p>It's a Paradox grand strategy game, and so all but guaranteed to be unlearnable in a single weekend. Nevertheless, if you think you're up to the task, you can&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/236850/" target="_blank">head here</a> to download the Steam temporary&nbsp;trial version. If nothing else, you should have time to conquer a few of the smaller nations. If you like what you play, the base game is currently 75% off.</p><p>For current owners, new expansion opportunities arrive in the form of the now released El Dorado DLC. The add-on's focus is on Central and South America, and it also features a nation designer that'll let you custom create your own empire.</p><p>Here's a tiny trailer:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UjK5520IP9Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Mortal Kombat X story trailer shows the cast of Mortal Kombat Xhttp://www.pcgamer.com/mortal-kombat-x-story-trailer-shows-the-cast-of-mortal-kombat-x/A look at the bits of Mortal Kombat X that aren't punching and/or slicing.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:49:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mortal-kombat-x-story-trailer-shows-the-cast-of-mortal-kombat-x/Mortal Kombat XNews <p>Mortal Kombat X is the Xth game in the popular series about punching. But! Not all is punching. Sometimes it's watching, because&nbsp;a story-bit is happening. Here is a trailer for these&nbsp;non-punching sections.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EAb4xycgNrg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Fans of the series will recognise returning characters like Chilly Scar, Mask Hair and That Guy.</p><p>"Taking place 25 years after the events of Mortal Kombat&trade; (2011)," writes a press release, non-ironically using a&nbsp;&trade; in case we had forgotten that Mortal Kombat is&nbsp;a popular, established&nbsp;and legally protected&nbsp;series of punch-'em-ups,&nbsp;"the new generation of characters will discover that Outworld is not the only threat they face. Fans will get a first look at the newest fighters to join Cassie Cage, including Jacqueline Briggs, daughter of Jax, Takashi Takeda, son of Kenshi and Kung Jin, descendant of Kung Lao."</p><p>Mortal Kombat X is due out on April 14.</p> Downwell is a vertical shooter about falling down a wellhttp://www.pcgamer.com/downwell-is-a-vertical-shooter-about-falling-down-a-well/Arcade shooter picked up by Devolver Digital.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:26:16 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/downwell-is-a-vertical-shooter-about-falling-down-a-well/Devolver DigitalIndieNews <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IHmhgMXXSJib.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AG8Kk19hr5YE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GUNSHOOTDOWNWELL"></p><p><a href="http://downwellgame.com/" target="_blank">Downwell</a> is a game about falling down a well, but also you have guns for feet. There are monsters in the well. Shoot them with your feet guns. The recoil will even give you more time to adjust your mid-air positioning, and thus demonstrate your&nbsp;wicked sick platforming precision. Feet guns: don't fall down a well without them.</p><p> Created by Japanese developer&nbsp;Ojiro "moppin" Fumoto, Downwell has been&nbsp;<a href="http://www.devolverdigital.com/blog/view/strap-on-your-gun-boots-and-jump-into-the-darkness">assimilated</a> into Devolver's growing indie portfolio. They'll be publishing the game on PC and mobiles.</p><p> I could probably say more, about the shops and treasures and upgrades that can be found. But really, all you need is this gif:</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b4sYC2SfTW-v.gif" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b4sYC2SfTW-v.gif" alt="FALLDOWNWELLSHOOTBADDIES"></p><p> And also maybe this gif?</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HdzXuLUESR6a.gif" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HdzXuLUESR6a.gif" alt="WELLWELLSHOOTWELL"></p><p>Downwell is due out later this year.</p> We Happy Few trailer reveals its creepy alt-'60s settinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/we-happy-few-trailer-reveals-its-creepy-alt-60s-setting/What if Britain had been invaded by hyper-violent mimes? It'd probably look a bit like this.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:35:59 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/we-happy-few-trailer-reveals-its-creepy-alt-60s-setting/AdventureNewsWe Happy Few <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U3dHusYgSy-v.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6sqK2KSuq9wg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="We Happy Few"></p><p>What if Britain was instead populated by drug-chugging mime-a-likes&nbsp;locked in a permanent state of violent&nbsp;bliss? That's a really strange question, and yet Compulsion Games have seemingly decided to ask it in their new game We Happy Few.</p><p>The announcement trailer is equal shades of Bioshock and Doctor Who.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MqWZkCqI6NM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>"We Happy Few is the tale of a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial," explains the official site.&nbsp;"Set in a drug-fuelled, retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England, you’ll have to blend in with its other inhabitants, who don’t take kindly to people who don’t abide by their not-so-normal rules."</p><p>It certainly looks interesting. Compulsion's last game, Contrast, wasn't entirely successful&mdash;we gave it 52% in the magazine&mdash;but the style on show here is undeniable. Hopefully it'll translate into an eerie adventure, whatever that actually involves.</p> Battlefield Hardline dev on PC launch stabilityhttp://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardline-dev-on-pc-launch-stability/Visceral producer implies a smooth PC launch for HardlineFri, 27 Feb 2015 11:08:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardline-dev-on-pc-launch-stability/Battlefield HardlineFPSNewsVisceral <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZpdefCtFTfiP.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/m-4u3LNuYXfY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Battlefield Hardline"></p><p>"We’re not just porting it over," writes Battlefield Hardline's&nbsp;gameplay systems producer&nbsp;Mike Glosecki over at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.battlefield.com/hardline/news/battlefield-hardline-on-pc" target="_blank">Battlefield Hardline official site</a>.&nbsp;"Battlefield started on the PC with 1942 and we know we have a passionate fan base on this platform."</p><p>These comments, and others, are all part of a fairly lengthy write up about Hardline's PC credentials. "I’m also a hard core PC gamer that builds his own systems and subscribes to the theory that the PC is by far the best gaming platform around," Glosecki stresses. Strip down readers, and prepare to be buttered up.</p><p>Much of the post is an attempt to reassure potential players that Hardline isn't just a re-skinned Battlefield. As for PC support, 64-player battles return, and basic features are present:</p><p><em>"</em><em>You can play at much higher resolutions, 1920x1080 and beyond up to the capabilities of your video card.&nbsp;You can also use much higher graphic settings on PC – which you gives you the best texture filtering, texture quality, and anti-aliasing in addition to other benefits. You can adjust your field of view or run higher than 60 FPS if you choose. You can even play with a three monitor setup for an immersive experience. Lastly, you get to use a mouse and keyboard which gives you the best control setup for a first person shooter."</em></p><p>As for stability of the game, Glosecki touches on Battlefield 4's extensive launch problems.</p><p><em>"</em><em>Stability has been one of the largest areas we’re focusing our attention at Visceral while developing Hardline. I think we can all agree that Battlefield 4’s stability at launch was less than stellar. In order to address stability for our game at launch, we’ve had the game up and running in the multiplayer environment for the last two years with both the development and quality assurance teams playing in daily matches. We’ve run two betas for the game as well, one at E3 and the pre-launch beta which just completed on Feb 9th. Both of these have not only helped us solidify the stability of our servers, but have also provided great feedback for us to address in the game. As a side note, we are also making changes to Battlelog to include a new pop-up on how to activate the plugin in your browser since this was an issue for some of our players."</em></p><p>It's not quite an explicit promise of a smooth launch. It is, however, a heavy implication that Visceral are confident they won't be troubled&nbsp;by the same issues that plagued the previous&nbsp;Battlefield.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardline/" target="_blank"><em>Head here</em></a><em>&nbsp;for our complete Battlefield Hardline coverage.</em></p> The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition 8K galleryhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-secret-of-monkey-island-special-edition-8k-gallery/Pixel Boost investigates the mysteries of Monkey Island in 8K resolution.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 00:13:53 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-secret-of-monkey-island-special-edition-8k-gallery/AdventurePixel BoostThe Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition Oculus Rift demo puts you in the Battle of Endorhttp://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-demo-puts-you-in-the-battle-of-endor/It's a trap!Thu, 26 Feb 2015 23:30:18 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-demo-puts-you-in-the-battle-of-endor/NewsOculus RIFTOculus VR <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oWlH-C76lKI?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> Have you ever found yourself with an <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift/">Oculus Rift</a> strapped to your face, and no real idea what to do with it next? Allow me to make a suggestion: Hop into the cockpit of an X-Wing starfighter and enjoy a front-row seat for the Battle of Endor.</p><p> The video is taken from an Oculus Rift X-Wing simulator being developed by James Clement, who wrote on YouTube that it "still needs a lot of polish" but made it available for download for those who want to try it anyway. Unfortunately, it hasn't been updated since September; the most recent related <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRtLd8wGox0">video</a>, a demonstration of a technical issue with flickering shadows, went up at the end of September.</p><p>The video starts off fairly slowly, but the intensity jumps up dramatically when the order to engage the capital ships at point-blank range comes in. Twisting around the massive Mon Calamari cruiser and then strafing the Star Destroyer provides a scale and sense of speed that the opening minutes lack, although it loses momentum again once the fighter dives into the exhaust port: There's no sense of anything at all happening beyond a pleasant, traffic-free cruise through a four-lane tunnel.</p><p> This kind of first-person, in-cockpit experience is exactly what the Oculus Rift is surely&nbsp;made for, and somewhat surprisingly, it doesn't take a whole lot of hardware to make it happen: According to the Oculus page, the Battle of Endor sim was tested on a 2.4 GHz dual-core AMD CPU with 6GB RAM, and a laptop with an unspecified 2.4 GHz CPU and 16GB of RAM. It's clearly not as polished as, say, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous/">Elite: Dangerous</a>, but it's free. And it's Star Wars! Get the details at <a href="https://share.oculus.com/app/star-wars-the-battle-of-endor">Oculus.com</a>.</p>