Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 demo now on Steam

Omri Petitte at

All Gabriel "Dracula" Belmont wants to do is be left in peace. He longs to stare into the night sky and occasionally feast on the blood of the pure, but that stupid Satan just won't stop showing up and kicking over Dracula's Gothic sand castle. We'll soon get to stick our Void Swords right in the Devil's derriere when Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 hits PCs on February 25, but at least we can sate our bloodthirst in the meantime with the free demo available on Steam along with a 10 percent cut of the $60 pre-order price.

Rust update throws out zombies, improves nature

Omri Petitte at

In some ways, Rust is like a big, pastoral representation of life. Your ramshackle hut, built through sweat and tears, stands for the your accomplishments. The weighty rock you use to crush an interloper's head like a grape? That's just being a friendly neighbor. And the zombies...well, I still don't know what the zombies mean, but they're pretty annoying. So much so, in fact, that Facepunch's latest update yanks them out of its sandbox survival-thon entirely—replacing them with less-stupid animals.

Shadow of the Eternals' retooled crowdfunding campaign didn't make its goal

Katie Williams at

It's been a rocky road for Shadow of the Eternals, the Eternal Darkness spiritual successor that so desperately wants to grow out of the awkward conceptualization stage and become a real game. First there was the weird, Kickstarter-like thing on their own website; then came an actual Kickstarter campaign, which was quickly pulled for "retooling." Now, their final crowdfunding campaign has concluded without making its $750,000 goal, though the developer is not giving up hope.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 will be out at the end of February

Tom Sykes at

February 28th. Mark it in your calendar with a big bloody X, because that's the day that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is hitting the PC. It's a little later than I was expecting, but considering the original is still a week away from existing on desktops, I suppose it's a wait we can endure. To celebrate the occasion of a number being decided on, Konami and MercurySteam clubbed together to create some new screenshots - because everything is expressed in screenshot form now. See some in all their gothic splendor below.

The sinisterly cute Ittle Dew is out today on Steam

Katie Williams at

Yes, I know Ittle Dew's name may sound like something you'd mumble into a fluffy cat's belly fur, but the Zelda-inspired puzzle-adventure is a little surlier than that. Ittle Dew—in which, as Tom noted, you get to play as a complete jerk—has been released on multiple channels, opening up the smacking of innocent RPG-dwelling crystals to PC gamers everywhere.

Lifeless Planet gameplay trailer is epic, verging on cosmically confusing

Katie Williams at

If you cast your eye back to the Kickstarter greats of 2011, you'll remember Lifeless Planet. The fledgling action-adventure-mystery of Russian spaceman paraphernalia on what is supposed to be an uninhabited planet was incredibly intriguing, even back then in its early alpha stages. Now that the Lifeless Planet is hurtling towards release, it's got a gameplay trailer to show how far it's come.

Ittle Dew: a gorgeous Zelda-like adventure where you play as a complete jerk

Tom Sykes at

In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, you could famously rob the local item shop, an act that would see you branded as a THIEF for the rest of the game. Zelda-inspired parody Ittle Dew takes that idea and runs with it, putting you in the role of a puzzle-solving, dungeon-robbing jerk of an adventurer who "may enjoy hitting things a bit too much". This beautifully drawn adventure is out now, for the reasonable price of $13.99.

Shadow of the Eternals pulls its crowdfunding campaign

Katie Williams at

Shadow of the Eternals developer Precursor Games has "temporarily" withdrawn its Kickstarter campaign, with 15 days left in its funding period and with less than 10% of its goal met.

Ubisoft: players "will tell us" when they're tired of annual Assassin's Creed releases

Omri Petitte at

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag sailing in from the salty mists so soon after Assassin's Creed 3 signifies Ubisoft's drive to annualize the series on a regular holiday release track. Some fans worry the saturation of Creeds will dull the appeal of sticking sharp metal objects into bad men as a hooded killer. For Ubisoft Montreal head Yannis Mallat (via Eurogamer), however, it's full sails for the yearly cycle unless players say otherwise.

GDC 2013: Dishonored's Dunwall influenced by dev visits to London, Edinburgh

Omri Petitte at

At night, Dishonored's sprawling city of Dunwall looks particularly magnificent. Lit windows dot a canopy of Victorian-style architecture of angular roofs and spires, and jungles of smokestacks continuously belch out whale-oil vapor in an enduring sign of industry. It's easy to forget about Corvo Attano's errand of revenge and simply drink in Dunwall's details, but Arkane's journey of solidifying the city's theme was a far more elaborate process. At a GDC talk (via Polygon), Art Director Sebastien Mitton describes how experiencing "the life of a city" visited by the team eventually shaped Dunwall's culture and identity.

GDC 2013: Dishonored devs uphold player improvisation and minimal guidance

Omri Petitte at

Beyond Dunwall's detailed architecture and snippets of lore spread through its cobbled streets, Dishonored racked up acclaim for its steep non-linearity and free-form areas for players to fashion their own means of completing objectives using as much subtlety as desired. During a panel at GDC yesterday (via Polygon), Arkane co-Creative Directors Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith embraced this concept of player agency in games, saying, "It's all about guiding and attracting, as opposed to dictating the player's path."

Volition unconcerned about releasing Saints Row 4 near Grand Theft Auto 5

Omri Petitte at

Saints Row 4 debuted last week with all the subtlety one might expect from a game with dubstep guns and rocket-launching guitars, and it's eyeballing an August 20 release. That sets up a scant month-long gap between it and Grand Theft Auto 5's planned September launch, and Rockstar's titan has both years of success and a heavy fanbase to bring to bear. Speaking to Eurogamer, Volition Producer Jim Boone says the team isn't worried in the slightest and feels Saints Row is unique enough to stack up to its giant competitor.

Sonic Generations mod adds most levels from console-exclusive Sonic Unleashed

Omri Petitte at

Yes, there's actually a bunch of Sonic games on Steam. They're easy to miss in the piles of other action games, but 2011's Sonic Generations deserves special notice for its thriving mod community. That's right, mods and Sonic is a thing, a pair as expected as hedgehogs and racing. The latest user-generated triumph is the Unleashed Project, a massive port of some of the daytime (read: good) levels from the console-only Sonic Unleashed.

Saints Row 4 survey asks about possible Collector's Edition swag

Omri Petitte at

Deep Silver wants to include the players its decision-making process for the bonus items packaged in the Collector's Edition of Saints Row 4. In a survey guarded by a pair of friendly-looking penguins, the publisher lists several prospective trinkets for you to rate, and in true Saints fashion, they range from functional to silly to "what in the name of all goodness is that?"

Remember Me developer struggled with securing a publisher over female protagonist

Omri Petitte at

Remember Me is an upcoming action-adventure game combining stealth, parkour, cyberpunk, and the Inception-like concept of memory alteration. An amazing pitch, one sure to woo plenty publishers—oh, wait, the main character is a lady. Pass. That's essentially what developer Dontnod Entertainment experienced while shopping its game to prospective funders, and in an interview with Penny Arcade, creative director Jean-Maxime Moris says the studio was told more than once that "You can't have a female character in games."

American McGee wants to know if you're interested in an Alice 3

Omri Petitte at

Boy, this one's sure to be a toughie, right? American McGee queried fans on his Facebook page yesterday on the level of interest for seeing the development of a third Alice game two years after the release of Alice: Madness Returns.

Assassin's Creed 3 Tyranny of King Washington DLC trailer shows magical eagle powers

Omri Petitte at

The upcoming second chapter of the Tyranny of King Washington DLC for Assassin's Creed 3, named Betrayal, continues Ratonhnhaké:ton's one-man assault against Washington's forces. It's about as far a departure from the series' adherence to history as you can get—oh, wait, we can also turn into a sparkly eagle. Now it's the farthest we can get.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag screenshots show lush jungles, lush beards

Omri Petitte at

As revealed earlier this week, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is a very real thing. Hot on the sails of the popular naval battles from Assassin's Creed 3, Black Flag charts the high-seas adventures of Connor's grand-sire Edward Kenway and his time moonlighting as a member of the assassin order while leading a pirate crew. Ubisoft's latest trove of screenshots shows more glimpses at plunder-prone tropical locales (including a couple concept art sketches), Kenway's totally non-compensating arsenal, and a frozen moment from a full broadside. We've also got more info and shots for all you landlubbers in our preview.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag references Desmond Miles as part of a "consistent mythology"

Omri Petitte at

The first three Assassin's Creed games are about Desmond Miles. Oh, you don't remember? That's fine. It's easy to forget such a bubbling font of personality, even though we wouldn't have controlled his way cooler ancestors and their Templar-slaying skills if they hadn't sprung from the mind of the world's most vegetative assassin. He's no longer the center of attention in the upcoming Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, but Ubisoft isn't entirely ignoring Mr. Miles in the context of the franchise's meta-arc. In a self-published Q&A (via All Games Beta), Creative Director Jean Guesdon says the character remains "a very important legacy" for Black Flag and beyond.

Dishonored story DLC hinted at by PS3 Trophies

Omri Petitte at

Dishonored's roof-flitting ride to revenge already landed our Singleplayer Shooter of 2012 award, but there may be more to the saga in an upcoming DLC pack hinted at by a new batch of PS3 Trophies.