Gearbox Software was slapped with a lawsuit last year over the hot mess that was Aliens: Colonial Marines, and specifically that the final product was a far cry from what was promised in "actual gameplay" demos displayed at E3. Gearbox quickly dismissed the action as "frivolous" but otherwise remained quiet on the matter until yesterday, when lawyers for the studio filed multiple motions seeking to have it removed from the action.
Alien: Isolation's pre-order reward is two bonus missions based on scenes from the original film. Since learning of those missions, fans have been in an increasingly sickly state—made weak by the conflict between desirable extras and sensible pre-order scepticism. Now, bursting explosively from their chests, is the information that those missions—which feature original cast members reprising their roles—will also be released as DLC, to be made available after the game's launch.
Alien: Isolation was always essentially Alien: The Video Game in my mind, with its slavish reproduction of that film's technology, its sets, and the pre-Cameronised alien that hadn't yet been robbed of its near-indestructibility in the 1986 sequel. The news that Creative Assembly and Sega have gone full Alien and announced two bonus missions based on the original movie, and featuring the original cast, should make me very happy indeed—but it's been handled in just about the worst possible way. Those two missions—Crew Expendable and Last Survivor, detailed below—have been earmarked as pre-order DLC. You'll get the first one along with some other stuff simply by pre-ordering the game, but to get both you'll need to pre-order from "select retailers", which haven't been announced yet.
Richard Wordsworth had a grand, terrifying old time with the Oculus Rift demo for Alien: Isolation, but it looks like it will remain just that, for the time being at least: a demo. Speaking to Eurogamer, Sega confirmed that "it's just a prototype and does not represent a game currently in development at this point in time". After watching the following trailer for said prototype, your boos and hisses are likely to increase in both volume and frequency.
Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies is out, and, as explained in our review, provides welcome rejuvenation to Relic's strategy sequel. In this new trailer, the game's executive producer Greg Wilson explains the standalone expansion's* new War Spoils feature. Also he jumps out of a plane.
Here's a little known E3 fact for you. Every year, E3's organisers set quantum explosives underneath the show floor. If the games industry goes for more than one hour without releasing a new trailer, it detonates, trapping us all in a never-ending press conference hosted by the demonic amalgamation of all publishing executives. Thank goodness Creative Assembly had this Alien: Isolation trailer to hand.
Chances are you already know about the two forces at the centre of Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies. Germany and the US previously fought out their differences in the first Company of Heroes, in 90% of all FPS games made before 2007, and in real-life history. If you do need a refresher, watching two two-minute trailers probably isn't going to help. If, instead, you just need to see some tanks and explosions, they're practically perfect.
I recently strapped on my bulkiest, most improbable armour in order to again attempt the vast campaigns of the Dawns of War 2. The reason being that I wanted to play them in co-op, and, with Games for Windows Live potentially shutting down in July, wasn't sure if that was a thing I'd be able to do. It looks like I can rest easy on my seemingly unending Tyranid defence, as Relic have announced that Dawn of War, Dawn of War 2, and both games' various expansions will all be transitioned over to Steamworks. In doing so, the Warhammer 40K series can dodge whatever ill fate is in store for GameSpy and GfW Live.
Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies release date announced, will reinforce multiplayer next month
It's a worrying sign that we can have favourite wars; that people can sit around the pub, aggressively arguing that the dramatic impact of aerial warfare makes World War 2 a better conflict than the American Civil War, despite its pioneering use of railroads. At least Relic are doing their part to alleviate inter-war tension with Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies—a standalone multiplayer expansion that leaves behind CoH2's Eastern front setting in favour of CoH1's Western lands. If you prefer to battle across the sunnier side of Europe, you'll be able to do so when the expandalone reports for duty on June 24th.
If Company of Heroes 2 has popped into your Steam account, don't panic, it's not a brazen stealth annexation on Sega's part, but the start of a free weekend for Relic's intense real time strategy. The game earned a plump score of 80 in our review, and is a good bet if you enjoy air strikes and LOUD ANGRY WAR NOISE.
Pity the user interface elements of Alien: Isolation, for they have been through a terrible ordeal. Pristine, unblemished versions of the game's icons were printed onto VHS tapes, scratched, shoved into an old player, and played on an old CRT telly while the cable input was twisted. The tortured images were then ported back into the game, producing imagery suitably distorted enough to fit with the low technology of the Alien films. You can watch the results of the process in the latest developer diary, which explains some of the other techniques the Creative Assembly have used to try to capture Ridley Scott's vision of a future made out of big '70s pocket calculators.
Too busy scouring the Eredivisie for promising young wingers to notice that your other half has walked out on you? Football writer, and co-author of Football Manager Stole My Life, Iain Macintosh charts a typical journey into the dark side of FM micromanagement.
In a startling break with standard practice, it seems Sega has taken to announcing the release dates of AAA games on a Saturday. This way lies madness, friends. What next, Half-Life 3 confirmed on Christmas Eve. Anyway. Alien: Isolation. October 7th.
Company of Heroes 2 is returning to the setting of Company of Heroes 1 with The Western Front Armies, a standalone expansion that's coming out in June for $20. It includes two armies: the US forces and the German Oberkommando and eight new multiplayer maps set in the green, unfrozen lands of the Western Front. There are no single player missions or Theater of war Scenarios mentioned, so it looks like an expansion designed to feed the multiplayer scene, which has been quietly warring away since launch last year.
Sega used to spend their time faffing about with console boxes and a blue hedgehog. Now they spend their time more productively: publishing cool PC games (and occasionally trying to resurrect the blue hedgehog). Sometimes these many projects collide into a single, gloriously incomprehensible mess of different games and styles. It happened with the bizarrely compelling Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed - a game in which an anthropomorphic fox could lose a kart race to the football manager from Football Manager. It's also now happened with this week's Humble Weekly Sale.
The Creative Assembly has released the Beast of War DLC for Total War: Rome II. It costs $3 and adds seven new units to the game, like Celtic Warhounds and Camel Cataphracts, but some players are angry that the units are not as new as they may appear.
Once upon a time a studio called Obsidian combined Jack Bauer's angry fists, James Bond's repertoire of one-liners and Jason Bourne's dead-eyed stare into a superspy Megazord called agent Michael Thornton. Michael traveled the world, engaging in rubbish stealth/action sections and talking to spy movie caricatures about conspiracies, initiating branching dialogues that could change the adventure's entire narrative direction. Michael Thornton today lives happily in the memories of the few who played and enjoyed Alpha Protocol, and can rest easy knowing that he starred in one of the most reactive RPG storylines around. He still looks really silly when you leave him hanging in the middle of a conversation choice.
Alpha Protocol is just £2.50 / $3.75 this week - a price point that should make it easy to overlook the dodgy action bits and enjoy the dialogue and decision-making. There's a choice of combat styles, and I'd recommend going down the extremely powerful stealth pistols skill tree. That'll let you breeze through the action scenes without too much swearing. Here is a video, so you know what you're in for.
There are lessons to be learned from sci-fi movies. Mostly they're lessons regarding AI and robots (ones that Google seem determined to ignore), but we can also pick up a few tricks from space-based sci-fi horrors. For instance, always bring more electricians than you technically need. The lights are always the first things to go. Also, take plenty of janitors, because - as these new Alien: Isolation screenshots prove - things are going to get pretty messy.
When it comes to these iteratively improving patches, the change-lists can bleed into one big mass of "everything is better this time, again". Patch 9 for Total War: Rome 2 targets improvements to "performance, unit behaviours, unit balancing and much more," which seems suspiciously familiar to the summary of every patch that came before. Skim over the lengthy details, though, and you'll see that this is a substantial and wide-ranging update.
There are plenty of performance updates, targeting campaign performance and battle-screen framerates. The AI has received plenty of tweaks too, with pathfinding and battle logic seemingly the focus of CA's tinkering. Also in the patch notes... well, a bit of everything really.
Total War: Rome 2 has had Steam Workshop support since last October, but mod-makers have had to cobble together their tweaks and edits through community made tools, bits of string and frequent swearing. Now, though, Creative Assembly are providing their Assembly Kit as an open beta to community creators, giving them the chance to try out the official suite of tools before their upcoming full release.