Valve announces $250,000 community-funded prize pool for CS:GO winners at ESL One in Cologne

Andy Chalk at

The world's best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams will compete for a $250,000 "community-funded" prize pool at ESL One Cologne 2014, Valve announced today. The prize money was raised through last year's Arms Deal Update for CS: GO, which directed proceeds from sales of a special eSports weapon case toward larger prize pools and greater visibility for competitive gaming.

South Park: The Stick of Truth farts out some new screenshots

Perry Vandell at

Gamescom 2013 has brought a great many things to the fore, among which are some screenshots for South Park: The Stick of Truth. So far, everything about The Stick of Truth looks like something you'd see from your usual episode of South Park. From what I've seen, you'd have good reason to be suspicious if it weren't for a trusty reticule featured in a couple of images. That's some fine work you did Mr. Reticule. Damn fine work.

Titanfall drops a gameplay demo at Gamescom

Perry Vandell at

Details may still be a little slim about how Respawn Entertainment's fusion of multiplayer and narrative actually works, but that’s not stopping the former Call of Duty studio from showing off the rescue of your friendly neighborhood drunk in a new gameplay demo.

Blizzard trademarks "The Dark Below," possibly a Diablo 3 expansion [Update]

T.J. Hafer at

Update: A new Diablo 3 teaser site has emerged, titled Reaper of Souls. The site quotes 'The Book of Tyrael', saying "Death, at last, shall spread its wings over all". We'll find out more at Gamescom, but if Reaper of Souls is the name of the new expansion, what's 'The Dark Below'? Possibly something WoW related?

Original: We've known for a couple weeks that Blizzard will be making an announcement "sure to capture the attention of the Heavens, Burning Hells and all the shadowed places that lie between" at Gamescom later this month. That's about as on-the-nose as it could possibly get without sending out a press release saying "Hey guys, Diablo 3 expansion!" Considering the timing, Blizzard's newly-filed trademark for "The Dark Below" is likely to be the title of said expansion.

The Witcher 2 mod tools looking for early adopters

T.J. Hafer at

At Gamescom this week, CD Projekt RED is unveiling REDkit, its suite of modding tools for The Witcher 2. The dev team is currently accepting applications for early access to the tools on the Witcher official site. Early access is targeted at established modders: you'll be required to provide a short bio, an example of a mod you've made (which doesn't have to be CD Projekt-related), and a website.

Planetside 2 Gamescom trailer features actual in-game footage

T.J. Hafer at

A new trailer for Planetside 2 has come thundering across the battlefield at Gamescom. And this one is all in-engine goodness, showing off everything from infantry combat to tanks to flyers to jetpacks. Strap in and check it out after the jump.

Dead Space 3 release date and pre-order stuff announced, new trailer out of Gamescom

Tyler Wilde at

Barring any delays, Dead Space 3 will release in North America on February 5, 2013 and in Europe on February 8. Pre-ordering the Limited Edition will earn you access to the First Contact and Witness the Truth bundles, which contain unique in-game suits and weapons. Hop inside for the details and a new Gamescom trailer.

Hitman: Absolution gets Steamworks and DX11 support: "Hitman's suit looks ten times more awesome on PC"

Tom Senior at

Owen has clubbed a guard, nabbed his clothes and wandered casually out of an IO Interactive Gamescom meeting with details of some of the PC-only features we can look forward to from Agent 47's October outing. If you have a DirectX 10 card you'll be able to enjoy increased texture and gesture resolution, better shadows, sharper visuals and more. If you have a DirectX 11 card, Absolution will look even better thanks to the integration of top level visual tricks like bokeh filtering and tessellation into IO's Glacier 2 engine. Steamworks support means we'll be able to upload our saves to the cloud and resume your campaign on any PC. Nice.

IO Interactive's Jonas Meyer headed up the presentation. He says that IO "want the game to look as awesome as possible" and promises that "Hitman's suit looks ten times more awesome on PC."

Mad Catz launches STRIKE7 keyboard

Adam Oxford at

Purveyors of positively potty peripherals, MadCatz, have finally got around to designing a keyboard which will go along with the uniquely bonkers look of their RAT mice. Just like the mice, the STRIKE7 keyboard is highly customisable, with a modular construction that lets you split bits off and put them where you want them.

If you want, you can split it in half to remove the number pad and program nine different macro keys on the fly. The most interesting thing, however, is the detachable touchscreen: a tiny colour LCD which displays system data, a list of current macro commands and details from third party applications like TeamSpeak.

LEGO The Lord of the Rings gets Gamescom trailer, LEGOlas joke goes unmade

Tyler Wilde at

I like the LEGO games, and I like The Lord of the Rings. I also like the look of "LEGO LOTR." The official title, LEGO The Lord of the Rings with the "the," however, I don't love, but trademarks are trademarks. I'm also confused as to how the One Ring fits onto Frodo's claw. Maybe I'm just nitpicking now.

Gamescom 2011: what to expect

Tom Hatfield at

Gamescom begins tomorrow, and the team is engaging in a Rocky style montage in preparation. We've been punching meat, running up steps and humming 'eye of the tiger' under our collective breath all day. That way we'll be ready to bring you all the best news as it happens.

The big news will be the unveiling of DotA 2. On Wednesday they'll kick off a massive tournament offering a cool $1,000,000 in prize money for the winner. It's a pretty amazing way to unveil a new game. Prepare for an incredible spectacle and hands-on reports.

Valve to show strategy game at Gamescom 2011

Tom Hatfield at

CVG have noticed that the official Gamescom website lists Valve in the strategy section. This very strongly suggests that we'll see DOTA2 in Cologne next month as the Dota follow-up is the only strategy game Valve are known to be working on at the moment. We anticipated this when we first heard Valve would be attending the show, but it's still very exciting. We'll get to see whether the recently leaked DOTA 2 patch notes are correct.

Of course it's possible that Valve aren't showing off DOTA 2, but instead revealing a mystery strategy game, but that seems unlikely. Whatever they're showing though it's definitely not going to be Half Life: Episode 3, not that that ever stops the perpetual rumours.

Portal 2 screenshots from Gamescom

Tom Senior at

The latest Portal 2 screens have been unleashed, fresh from Gamescom. They show bucketloads of the crazy new goo stuff and some great shots of the behind the scenes factory areas, in which Glados sets about rebuilding the ruined Aperture testing facility.

Fresh Crysis 2 launch details

Tim Edwards at

A demo of Crysis 2 was just shown at the EA Press Conference at Gamescom. EA have simultaneously announced some of the pre-order bonuses, prices, and hilariously priced tchokes you can buy. And there's a beta. But it's only on Xbox 360. Err... guys! We'd like to be on the beta, too!

First Dragon Age 2 trailer and release date

Rich McCormick at

EA have shown their first proper trailer of Dragon Age 2 at Gamescom. It shows Hawke, the 'Champion of Kirkwall' and asskicker of the highest calibre, beating the snot out of a half-man, half-demon. And another half-ram. They're both using their special magic powers, as well as more standard giant-pissing-swords. Here's the video.