Now that Valve is introducing its own operating system, it would make sense that the developer would make its upcoming games (and one rumored legendary follow-up in particular) exclusive to the platform. Nothing would get gamers to switch from Windows to SteamOS faster than, say, a sequel to a beloved FPS that only runs in Linux, right? We'll never know, because Valve has sworn to stay away from operating system exclusivity in today's Steam Machine PR blitz.
It’s so tempting to get blasé about the folks at Star Citizen raking in another million dollars, as a new blog post announces that funding for the game has crossed the $26 million mark. “Oh?” I think, “another million? Yawn.” Then I realize that a space flight sim, a genre thought to be completely dead by traditional publishers, is whipping up cash at the pace of a million bucks a week with absolutely no sign of slowing down. Fantastic.
In Arkham Origins we join Batman in his angsty teenage years. He’s not the stoic, Kevin Conroy-voiced Batman of Asylum and City, who calmly asks criminals to turn themselves in before he beats them up, but a hot-headed, teeth-baring vigilante who punches first and asks questions later. It’s an interesting twist on the Arkham formula, but only in terms of story. Despite the change of tone and time period, this is a disappointingly timid retread of Rocksteady’s games.
It’s Christmas Eve, and skull-faced mobster Black Mask has given the caped crusader an early present in the form of a $50,000,000 bounty on his head. Eight assassins have been hired to claim the prize, including A-listers Bane, Deathstroke and Killer Croc, and a parade of low-rent DC villains including Firefly and Electrocutioner. We also see Batman’s first encounter with a youthful Joker, and other cameos that I won’t spoil. Rest assured, you’re never short of people to punch or be punched by.
Relic have announced that they're reaching a Turning Point. Confusingly in this case, it's a Company of Heroes 2 update, and not a new commitment to make nice games about not ordering tiny men to angrily shoot each other. As well as more multiplayer maps, this update also puts the tools of battle in the hands of the soldiers, by giving the community a World Builder tool that will let them create and share their own battlefields.
If, in the months since the announcement of Steam Machines, you've been waking up in cold sweats, shaking in terror at the possibility that Valve's hardware wouldn't be a grey box... well, your fears should now be set to rest. A new Seattle Times profile of Valve's living room ambition contains among the first few pictures of the prototype Steam Machine, showing dark and light shades of the plain, grey theme. While they're 48 short of an erotic novel, it's more than enough for a news post.
Europa Universalis 4: Conquest of Paradise announced, will allow exploration of a randomly generated American continent
Look what you've done, strategy fans... you've forced Paradox Interactive to deal with an actual paradox. They want the newly announced Europa Universalis IV expansion, Conquest of Paradise, to focus on the then-unexplored American continent. But then along you come with the bare-faced tenacity to be from the future, thereby knowing all about where America is and what's on it. Luckily, the developers have a clever plan to make your playthrough of the era seem more historically accurate. They're going to make stuff up.
If the majority of DICE's Battlefield 4 team are hurriedly trying to stamp out all of its many launch bugs, surely another squad has been holed deep in an underground bunker, thinking of ways to 'Levolve' the four returning maps of the Second Assault DLC pack. Those maps have now been officially revealed as Operation Metro, Operation Firestorm, Caspian Border and Gulf of Oman. Does this mean Metro will get a crashing train of thematically appropriate death? According to a previous teaser, no. Running over everyone in the map is probably a balance issue or something.
I have a horrifying feeling that they're actually going to call it Next Car Game. Sure, they might not be actively planning to do so, but at some point someone at Bugbear will say, "well, it's what everyone already calls it, so why not?" But no, Bugbear, don't do it. Call it something that more accurately reflects your destruction derby intentions. Something like CAR METAL HYPER FORCE SMASH TIME. Whatever it might eventually be called, it's appeared on Kickstarter, as Bugbear look for a turbo injection to their development fund.
Fans of shapes are well catered for in this week's roundup, which features all your favourite geometric configurations: circles, rectangles...even the mythical 'triangle'. There's shapes shooting at each other, shapes just trying to fit in, and shapes obscuring deadly drops of doom. There's also a lightly harrowing adventure game and a prototype that sets out to be the antithesis of stealth - the latter featuring our old friend Mr Triangle. Enjoy!
Hyper Light Drifter melted my usually unbreakable Kickstarter kaution, and it did so with GIFs. Its beautiful combat and idling animations already offer an uncanny level of charm, character and flair, and I'm looking forward to the day when it becomes a thing that I can play. In the meantime, we're going to have to settle for brief, early glimpses of the action RPG. Such a tease was posted recently by the developers, in the form of a pre-alpha combat video.
The fact that Steam requires you to pop online once every few weeks is a bug rather than intentional design according to an official forum response spotted by Blue's News. "There are many components involved in Offline Mode," writes Valve poster Henryg, "some of them have known issues and bugs which we are continually working to improve. We're aware that it doesn't always work as flawlessly as we want it to, but please keep reporting bugs with Offline Mode. It is not broken 'by design'."
He also mentions that Valve are in the process of converting every game on Steam to a new authentication procedure. "Some day soon, once this work is completed, we will eliminate the old authentication system (represented by the ClientRegistry.blob file) and Offline Mode should immediately become much more robust."
Where to start? That must be the big question facing DICE right now as they try and wrangle Battlefield 4 into a stable state. Players have been reporting disconnection errors, freezes, crashes and a smattering of bugs. DICE have tabled a list of fixes they're working on on the Battlefield 4 forums, which includes a bug that stops server queues from working and various client instability problems.
Where will you be at midnight tonight? Personally, I'll be randomly clicking on internet links, delving further into the hole of unproductive time-wasting and feeling guilty about not getting a Good Night's Sleep. As PC gamers long acquainted with digital distribution, I'll guess that your own plans probably don't involve queueing in the cold, or in some barely-lit supermarket, waiting for a copy of Call of Duty: Ghosts. For some, though, it will. That's because Call of Duty: Ghosts is a Big Deal. Just look at all the trailers Activision are throwing out for it. One of them even features Megan Fox, who you may remember for the uncredited role 'Stars-and-Stripes Bikini Kid Dancing Under Waterfall' in Bad Boys II.
"Free-to-play" and "microtransactions" are dirty terms to some. That's understandable. Famous Facebook Skinner boxes like Farmville have clouded attitudes toward today's free-to-play games, and there's an assumption all microtransaction-driven game design is handicapped by the need to create ways to charge players. For some games, this is certainly true, but there are excellent free-to-play games out there that represent good value for money. Below we've assessed some of the most common methods used by free-to-play games to make money from players, and highlighted some of the fairest examples of free-to-play that are worth your time.
Thief, eh? I think it's fair to say we're all a bit worried about the direction it's heading down, particularly when it's on track to creep out of the shadows and cosh us on the head as soon as February. Does this artistic, atmospheric, sadly gameplay-free trailer ease any of our fears? Nope, but it does describe The City in some fancy-pancy words, providing some backstory for Garrett's magnificently behatted fence Basso in the process.
Blizzard have just added a new game to Battle.net - and it's available to download for free. That's where I'd stop if I was going for a cruel, misleading opening, but luckily for you I have far too much integrity for that. (I also haven't received by weekly bung, of 250 doritopoints, yet.) It's their old (read: classic) platformer Blackthorne! Read on to hear how I totally didn't confuse it with the cider.
While zombies, vampires, and werewolves have had a pop-culture resurgence in the last decade, children of the 1980’s are wondering: “Won't ninja ever make a comeback? If not, that's totally bogus.” See, in the 80’s, ninja were everywhere, in everything, all the time. Clearly, that needs to happen again, and you can help, by playing as a ninja (or six other new classes) in the Far East Pack for Torchlight 2.
If you've had eyes lately, you may have noticed that quite a lot of people enjoy streaming videos of themselves playing Minecraft. It's, like, the reason the internet was invented. Soon, streaming videos of yourself playing Minecraft will become a little easier, as Mojang have partnered with video giants Twitch to integrate streaming into the game itself. The news was just announced at Minecon, which is totally going on this weekend in the blocky, procedurally generated city of Orlando.
SpeedRunners, as you might have guessed, is a game about running real fast. It's also a game about jumping and grapple-hooking, two methods of traversal that go particularly well with the above. tinyBuild's game hit Steam Early Access a couple of months ago, though it's just been revealed that if you wait until release you can get an (offline-only) version for free. Wuh? Guh? It's a positive response to the inevitability of piracy - you can hear tinyBuild's reasons below.