After years of development, and years of post-development, Pocketwatch Games have finally stopped tinkering with their stylish top-down heist-'em-up Monaco. The fourth and final free update, the aptly named Fin, adds a "brutally difficult" new eight-level campaign to the game, as announced on Steam a couple of days ago. To celebrate the end of a brilliantly heisty era, Monaco's price has been slashed by 75% for the next two days. If you'd rather experience the game over one beautiful weekend instead, it's also currently (temporarily) free.
As an old C&C fan, I do sympathise with Pocketwatch Games's micro frustration. Whatever happened to the days when speed and skill were less important than the ability to build 50 Mammoth tanks? I'm only slightly joking. It does increasingly seem that the economic-based macro game is taking a back seat, in favour of the very different excitement and strategy that is high-level soldier manipulation. As an alternative, the Monaco makers are designing [ARMADA], a game so opposed to APM that it's being designed primarily for the controller.
Andy Schatz has broken into his own game. Not to steal something, though. While that would be true to theme of Monaco, it would also be somewhat self-defeating. Instead, he's planted a new mini-campaign. It's called Monaco Origins, because video games. In addition, you'll also find Linux support, in preparation for SteamOS, and a zombie mode, possibly in preparation for Halloween. That or, again, because video games.
Monaco - the excellent four-player stealth/heist game from Pocketwatch Games - hasn't quite lit the world on fire as I thought it would, but for all I know there could a million Linux users sitting at their PCs right now waiting for a cracking co-op game to get stuck into. They'll be well catered-for on Monday, when Monaco: What's Thief's Was Originally Mine breaks into the open prison known as Linux. It will come with "a ton of free/new content", though the cunning devils at Pocketwatch haven't elaborated any further.
Black Annex a lovely indie game working its way through Steam Greenlight right now, is a game of corporate espionage, power brokerage and murder. The dark gameplay and frenetic action seem totally at odds with the adorable figurines-on-a-boardgame art style. Caught up in the contradictions of it all, I asked Black Annex’s solo developer, Australia-based Lance McDonald, what was up.
The Mole's Workshop, a free set of level editing tools, is now available for all Monaco players. Using simple tools which feature gamepad support (if you're into that kind of thing), The Mole's Workshop lets you place just about any element you've seen in the dev-created levels quickly and easily. This includes some handy little tokens that will generate random loot within a confined area that you define using invisible "loot blockers."
Just as promised, Steam Trading Cards is now live. The virtual cards can be earned by playing participating games on Steam, trading with other users, or buying on the Steam Marketplace. Complete a set to create a badge, earn rewards and XP, and level up. The user with the highest Steam level at the end of the year gets to high five Gabe Newell while announcing Half-Life 3. In space.
From PlanetSide to Quake to Team Fortress, the current issue of PC Gamer US is locked and loaded to count down the 25 Greatest Shooters of All Time. Plus, we bring you our review of a brand new Eastern European dystopian shooter with mutants—Metro: Last Light—and invite you to Reinstall a classic Eastern European dystopian shooter with mutants—S.T.A.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl.
Thievery's hard, yo. That's something Monaco developer Andy Schatz discovered in the process of formulating two new competitive modes for the top-down stealth game. Neither made it to the final released version, but they sound like a lot of fun, and Schatz still hopes that at least one of them will become a future DLC.
Monaco is a neon-blooded marriage of Pac-Man and Thief, a grand tribute both to 1920s silent comedy capers and to modern-day heist movies. It’s Ocean’s Eleven meets Keystone Cops, played out top-down in a world of living blueprints. It’s a criminal take on Laurel and Hardy, except with a four-man band instead of the dysfunctional duo. By and large, Monaco is one of those rare games that somehow stay magnificent regardless of whether you’re getting things right or your mission has turned into an eight-lane car crash.
Inspired by this team round-up trailer for top-down co-op heist game Monaco, I've started to assemble my own crack squad of international thieves. I've already secured "The Foot" - whose freakishly swollen left hoof should prove useful for kicking down doors - and "The Steve". He doesn't have any innate criminal super-skills as such, but he does have a van, which strikes me as useful.
In an interview with Penny Arcade Report (via PCGamesN), Monaco designer Andy Schatz shared his thoughts on Kickstarter campaigns and the inclusion of stretch goals—promises made at tiers above the minimum funding goal—bluntly calling the latter "bulls***" and "the perfect way to make a game that's insufficiently complete or bloated."
Monaco, the top down indie action stealth game, has been in development for approximately 200 years now. While you'd be forgiven for assuming it was never actually coming out, we're (finally) starting to see some activity to suggest that one day, eventually, it will get an official released.
Andy Schatz has announced, via the Monaco Twitter account, that pre-orders for the four-player Ocean's 11-like heist-em-up will be starting this week, adding "Wednesday is the plan."
Great ideas are exhilarating. When we have them, we turn them over and over in our heads like glassmakers folding molten silica, shaping our glowing gems. They stick to us. But then comes something agonizing: actually realizing them. Doubt and fear creep in. What if it doesn't work? Experimentation is risk.
Brave independent game developers have the freedom to take that risk, and we love when they do. After witnessing a magnificent indie showing earlier this month at PAX Prime, we gathered a list of the boldest new ideas being crafted by indie studios. Some of these games were new to us only weeks ago, while others have been forming for a while, but they're all built on ideas we're excited to talk about.
Q.U.B.E. is the first project released to be bankrolled by the Indie Fund, an organisation made up of a series of successful indie developers looking to provide hands-off financial support to exciting new game makers. A post on the Indie Fund blog, spotted by Joystiq, says that they have recouped their $90,000 investment after just four days.
"In the short time that it’s been available on Steam, Q.U.B.E. has sold over 12,000 copies," say the Indie Fund. "Indie Fund recouped its investment in Q.U.B.E., and now we’re looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Toxic Games."
Top-down indie heist ‘em up Monaco: What's yours is mine has a new trailer, according to those lovely chaps over at RPS. Soundtracked with an authentic-sounding plinky-plonk piano, it highlights the multiplayer portion of the game. It’s definitely best viewed in full-screen at 1080p, otherwise it just looks like something a nine-year-old made in the 1995 Micro Machines engine. It still looks like damn good fun, though, and it's hugely impressive due to the fact that it was born of the depression of one man.
Just look at Hawken. If ever there was a game that undermined the notion of what an independently developed project can achieve, it’s Adhesive Games’ mech shooter. Every bone in my body tells me a small studio should not be able to pull off such a gorgeous, robot-stomping shooter, but there it is, megabots hanging in the air, spitting rockets at each other across maps that look like they’ve come out of Epic or Valve.
But I’m getting used to indie games surprising me: freedom to create without interference from the men in suits is the reason their developers go into this murky, unfunded realm, trading security for the chance to follow their own path. Every developer in this list has taken the opportunity to make exactly what they want to make, using that freedom to create some startlingly original games that simply wouldn’t be made if they had a deadline to hit and had to justify every decision.
These games only exist because someone passionately wanted to bring them into the world, and it really, really shows.
At a panel at GDC, the team behind the Indie Fund - an experiment in successful indie developers putting funds to their peers - revealed the success, failures, and the first batch of three games that have received cash.
The fund launched in 2010, with not just the intention of making great games, but to improve the situations indie game developers find themselves in when negotiating with publishers. The Fund team is compirsed of some stellar indie talent; among them members of 2D Boy (World of Goo), Number None (Braid) and thatgamecompany (Flow). Games developers that receive Indie Fund money own their own IP, and pay back their investment in fairer terms. If their game fails to recoup costs, then the developer is relieved of their debts after three years.
Read on for the details, and videos of three promising titles.