Free to play "weekends" seem to be getting bigger and bigger, but you don't hear me complaining. As a relaxing aside to the spooky Halloween weather some of us will be experiencing, Valve's calming co-op zombie apocalypse shooter, Left 4 Dead 2, will be entirely free from today through to Monday. The expiry date is moot, however, as we'll all have been eaten by ghosts by then.
Looks like it's about time to dive back into Valve's zombie apocalypse/gnome rescue/friendly fire simulator, Left 4 Dead 2. An update announced on the Left 4 Dead blog has added a finished version of the community made map, Cold Stream, and has opened up all mutations. These are custom rulesets created by Valve and the community which used to rotate every week or so. Essentially they deliver tense and often ridiculous alternative game modes. Highlights include Taaannnkkk! which replaces all special infected in versus with Tanks, and Last Gnome on Earth, which requires survivors to rescue and protect Gnome Chompski on every map.
A bunch of tweaks have been made to Crash Course, Death Toll, Dead Air and Blood Harvest to crush exploits, and to celebrate the entire ordeal, Left 4 Dead 2 is on sale on Steam at 75% off. Absorb the latest round of tweaks in the patch notes below, and browse the many available mutations archived over on the Left 4 Dead wiki.
The Summer Sideshow event has taken over co-op survival horror Killing Floor, replacing all of your traditional hideous mutants with a freakshow of carnival themed monsters like an overenthusiastic sword eater and the Fleshclown, a monster with a talent for combining words that should never be together. You can find them and shoot them so hard they never come back on a new funfair level set among cardboard façades of heaven and hell. It's called Hellride, the perfect place to try out the five new weapons added by the update, which is free to all who own Killing Floor.
Dead Space 3 was shown at E3 earlier today. The demo made a move away from the dark, narrow corridors of the first two games. It showed Isaac and a new companion fighting alongside on the surface of a snowy planet as monsters with giant glowing orange weak spots assaulted them. Familiar scenes to anyone who's played the first Lost Planet.
In many ways, Payday: The Heist is very similar to Left 4 Dead. You team up with three friends, you fend off hordes of enemies and try to stay alive. But, in a few important ways, they're very different. In Left 4 Dead, a throng of zombies are trying to keep you out of a safe room, in Payday, you rob banks, take hostages and mow down legions of cops. According to a post on the Overkill blog, spotted by VG247, the Payday devs are working with Valve on a collaboration that will bring both concepts together.
There are two types of Collector's Edition for Borderlands 2. There's the $99.99 Deluxe Vault Hunter’s Collector's Edition for those who really like Borderlands, and the $149.99 Ultimate Loot Chest Limited Edition set for fans who really, really REALLY like Borderlands.
The cheaper box comes with a Marcus Kincaid bobblehead, a map of pandora, a download code for the digital comic, an art book and some stickers. The ultra-box is modelled in the style of a red Borderlands loot chest (minus the randomised megaguns), and comes with a set of lithograph postcards, some Sir Hammerlock field notes, a "steel book case" and big ID chart that lists all of the creatures you'll encounter in Pandora. Also, most importantly, there's a cloth map. In case you've never held a cloth map, it is the best sort of map a map could hope to be.
It's a tough industry for a new series. As someone who very much enjoyed Bulletstorm's gorgeous, bombastic shoot-outs, I quietly hoped that People Can Fly had done enough to earn a sequel. Sadly, it's not to be. Epic Games president Mike Capps has told Gamespot that while Bulletstorm was "very critically successful," it was merely "good, but not amazing" in the sales department. "I think EA was hoping we'd do better," he says.
Capps mentioned that some initial design work was done on Bulletstorm 2, but it's since been spiked in favour of other projects. He also admits that Bulletstorm underperformed on PC, and gives a couple of reasons. You can probably guess the main one. It begins with "P," is an anagram of CRAPYI, and rhymes with "biracy."
A fifth playable class will be added to Borderlands 2 after release. Early designs cast the new character as a small cyborg girl with the ability to control a small army of mechanical "Deathtrap" robots, which will serve as more killy incarnations of Borderlands' jabbering Claptraps. Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford has told Gametrailers that the "Mechromancer" DLC is currently in the design stages, and will be worked on properly once the core game has been polished off.
Aliens' Xenomorphs are perhaps the least huggable creatures in the galaxy, which is sad, because they're desperate to hug you TO DEATH. James Cameron's Aliens teaches us that the it's possible to dissuade unwanted alien hugs using bullets and, occasionally, big yellow bipedal loaders. You can expect to be doing lots of vigorous dissuading in Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gearbox' upcoming co-op shooter, due out later this year.
These latest screenshots show a few close and personal faceoffs with some of Giger's ugliest creations, a giant cannon turret with which you'll be able to destroy Giger's ugliest creations, and a gloomy spaceship interior full of cracks and dark corners, perfect for hiding dozens of hungry aliens.
We've had a chance to chat to Gearbox vice president of marketing Steve Gibson about the extra bits that the PC version of Borderlands 2 will be getting to make it feel extra special. Sharper resolutions, remappable keys, LAN support and native multiplayer matchmaking are a few of the features we can look forward to when Borderlands lands on September 18 in the US, and September 21 in the UK.
Gearbox say that they'll be using Valve's stat-tracking set of Steamworks tools to support Borderlands 2. As players, that means we get the traditional raft of associated features, like "Steam Achievements, downloadable content, auto-updating, multiplayer matchmaking" and Steam cloud support. The "multiplayer matchmaking" part of all that hopefully means Borderlands 2 won't use Gamespy this time around. This is potentially very good news for anyone who found it an absolute pain to get into online sessions for the first game. The less services we have to sign into to get into multiplayer, the better things tend to work.
Borderlands 2 will be out in the US on September 18 and the UK on September 21, dates that will prove hard to erase once the latest Borderlands 2 trailer has scorched them into your brain in a blaze of screaming electronica and hyper-violence. It will also have "bazziliondier guns," and not many games can make that claim.
I'm not sure if humanity has yet invented a unit capable of measuring the kind of manic, gun-loving hysteria exploding out of every frame of the new Borderlands 2 trailer on RPS. It's possible that language alone can't contain this amount of concentrated wub wub in one place, which explains the appearance of words like "bazilliondier" and expressions like "get read to joy puke your face off."
Between the beats there's mention of a September 18 release date. That's for the US, the Borderlands 2 site says that it'll be released internationally on September 21. If the concentrated, brilliant mind-bludgeoning above has rewired your brain into a state in which you must buy Borderlands 2 now or explode, there are various pre-order options advertised on the Borderlands 2 site. A refined, expanded version of the first game would do very nicely indeed.
In our list of ways to get around in videogames, jet packs rank pretty high. In our list of things we'd quite like to kill in games, dinosaurs are also pretty high. That makes it well worth mentioning the imminent arrival of Orion: Dino Beatdown, a game about flying around in jetpacks beating down dinosaurs in an open world battle for survival. It's made by Spiral Games, and looks like a nice, budget interim release while they continue work on their big multiplayer shooter Orion: Prelude.
I confess to almost writing Colon Marines here by accident. In a way, it makes sense when you consider that the tunnels that make up the Alien lair look a bit like a poorly lit long intestine. Time to file that in "best not thought about too much" parts of my brain and leave the CGI intro video above as a distraction while I make my escape.
If the rest of the game manages to capture the look of the film as well as this intro, then Gearbox' latest shooter could provide a reassuringly authentic take on the classic franchise. Aliens: Colon Marines is, like the most uncomfortable bowel movements, very late. It was due to arrive in Spring, it'll now hatch in Autumn. Our chests are bursting with anticipation. It could be awesome.
Aliens: Colonial Marines has been delayed from Spring this year, to Autumn. The darker months of late 2012 will better suit the co-op shooter, which was announced several millennia ago, shortly after the birth of the universe.
SEGA explain the delay over on Edge, saying that the process of making a game about shooting aliens in the face is "a process of creativity and invention" that doesn't "necessarily follow the structure of an assembly line."
An Aliens Colonial Marines image on Gamekyo appears to have leaked the content of the as-yet unannounced Collector's Edition all over the internet. If accurate, the picture suggests that several multiplayer weapons and an extra "firing range" game mode has been held back for CE owners. There's also a big old statue of a power loader being attacked by a Xenomorph that can probably be used to scare small children, or to cast menacing shadows on your wall. The image, from CVG, is below.
This is just a sneak peak of a longer fan film that creators Airsoft GI are planning to release soon, spotted on RPS. It's been a great year for classy fan films, from the Fallout 3 film, Nuka Break, to Beyond Black Mesa and Infectious Designer's recent Half-Life inspired short, Origins. From the looks of the trailer, this Left 4 Dead film could top them all. Look, Zoey's even clutching Bill's discarded beret. Poor Bill :(
The rather good co-op survival shooter, Killing Floor, will be free to play on Steam from this Thursday through Sunday, giving everyone a chance to try out the new goodies added by this year's Twisted Christmas event. I hope you enjoy nightmares about six foot tall gingerbread men with a taste for human flesh, because Killing Floor will throw hordes of them at your face on the new Ice Cave map.
The event will also give you the chance to shoot Christmas in the face with new weapons, including a vintage revolver, automatic shotgun, a huge sword and a powerful Husk cannon. Find out more on the official Twisted Christmas page (warning: contains large image of nightmarish gingerbread man). The event starts today, and will run until January 4.