War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing—except video games. War is the perfect backdrop for video games because it offers a straightforward conflict and goal that you can build a game around: kill the enemy. But as history teaches us, the real victims of war are the civilians caught between the armed forces on either side, an issue that almost none of the countless war games we play ever address. This War of Mine, a new game from Anomaly developer 11 Bit Studios, is dedicated to this issue.
By now, we're completely familiar with the basics of crafting games. You hit a tree until it becomes tree parts, then use the tree parts to build wooden things. You smash a rock until it becomes ore, then smelt the ore to build metal things. You meet a half-naked guy named Batman, and he follows you around for ten minutes eerily moaning, "Take me to your house. Show me your house. Show me your houuuuuse." Actually, that last part might not be common to crafting games. But Batman's weirdness is not that unusual in Rust, the early-access crafting survival game from Facepunch Studios.
A new update has been released for Sir, You Are Being Hunted. For many, that'll be good news, although I suspect the game's own robot hunters wouldn't see it that way. Not because they've been weakened - in fact their ranks have been bolstered by the new Landowner NPC - but because the rest of this update is designed to improve the 'feel' of the game. There's nothing like talk of feelings to alienate AI constructs.
Naked cavemen can't fly, or at least, they shouldn't fly. In multiplayer survival sim Rust, nudity is encouraged, but using software to disrespect gravity, walls, or augment a human's natural aiming ability is punishable by permanent ban. CheatPunch, a new anti-cheat system described in yesterday's update notes, has already detected and banned 4,621 players.
In some ways, Rust is like a big, pastoral representation of life. Your ramshackle hut, built through sweat and tears, stands for the your accomplishments. The weighty rock you use to crush an interloper's head like a grape? That's just being a friendly neighbor. And the zombies...well, I still don't know what the zombies mean, but they're pretty annoying. So much so, in fact, that Facepunch's latest update yanks them out of its sandbox survival-thon entirely—replacing them with less-stupid animals.
DayZ has received a new stable patch, although, in the world of early access survival games, the term stable is somewhat relative. The update brings some minor features and bug fixes, but the most important change is the continued improvement of server performance. Thanks to "a significant change to the server variable processing," the game's servers should have received a major performance boost. According to the patch notes, this should result in a smoother game experience and, more significantly, is another step towards the goal of increased player and zombie numbers, as well as the enabling of loot and zombie respawning.
Here's a new set of screenshots for the promising looking exploration horror game, The Forest. Yes, you may need to squint a bit, because they're pretty dark. That's a consequence of the eerie survival atmosphere that the game hopes to evoke. Luckily, as you can see from the previous trailer, that static darkness becomes a claustrophobic and eerie space when seen in motion.
Hungry hungry survival game Don't Starve is teasing a new piece of DLC, and it seemingly involves giants. They're probably going to do some reigning! Plus stomping, growling and being tall. You know, standard giant stuff. Those are some insights I've gleaned from the following Reign of Giants trailer, which suggests an Autumn (Americans: it's like your 'Fall') release, while revealing literally nothing about the expansion. If you want to study the 23 second video for yourself, you can do so beneath the giant's causeway I like to call 'the break'.
Mike Singleton's chilly post-apocalyptic survival strategy RPG Midwinter is getting an HD remake. Not familiar with the legendary (and now sadly departed) developer/author and his oeuvre of classic 8- and 16-bit PC games? Have a browse of his Wikipedia page. Not familiar with Midwinter, his ahead-of-its-time first-person survival game from 1989? Have a read of this lovely retrospective on Eurogamer. Midwinter's HD remake will head to Kickstarter early this year, and if all goes well developers Chilli Hugger Software are planning for an "early 2015" release.
The Long Dark just got a little bit brighter with the news that its Kickstarter page has hit its $200,000 target. The wintry wilderness survival game has three days left to go, which should be just enough time for the team add a new Aurora Boreanaz stretch goal to their Kickstarter page. I would pay all kinds of money to make that happen.
Raphael van Lierop may have never had to worry about surviving alone in the wilderness, but he's been close enough to sense the threat. Reminiscing about hunters who would accompany him for protection in college while conducting seismic surveys, he told me of tense months he spent in the wilds of British Columbia and Alberta, where news of grizzly attacks would sometimes drift in from other camps. Even now, working from his home on Vancouver Island, reports occasionally surface of unwary hikers getting lost deep in the woods.
Those who sunk hours upon hours into the Zombie Panic Half-Life 1 and 2 mods will be happy to know that a funded spiritual successor, Contagion, is being made by some of the same people and will be available on Steam Early Access before this Halloween.
Two games at E3 occupied the frustrating position of looking Quite Good, yet only being confirmed for consoles. But where Bungie's Destiny remains tantalisingly out of reach, Ubisoft's latest Clancyesque shooter - The Division - has been more vocal in its teasing of a possible PC future. According to DSOGaming, the game's developers - while taking part in a Machinima livestream - encouraged PC players to "sign petitions, get on the forums and post their requests."
Could this be leaked footage of DayZ's standalone version? It looks like everyone's favorite zombie-survival game, all right, but with an interestingly candy-colored inventory screen, among other features.
If you're hungering for a new indie release, you'll now be able to avoid those inevitable stomach-gnawing pangs, because the whimsically sepia-tinged Don't Starve has grown out of its awkward beta phase to stand among the indie greats on Steam.
You too will know the joys of fighting humans and mutants as you vie for control of a doomsday weapon, comrade. 4A Games has released the first survival guide tutorial for its upcoming Metro: Last Light first-person shooter. The video familiarizes would-be Rangers with the inherent dangers you'll face in the Metro itself, the destroyed surface wasteland and the transition tunnels between the two areas.
DayZ creator Dean "Rocket" Hall has shared his reaction with Eurogamer over the DayZ Origins mod for Arma 2 and its "inspiration" from Rocket's original zombie-survival creation. Though calling the naming similarities between the two mods "a bit problematic," he commended the GamersPlatoon community for "some awesome ideas."
The night is dark and full of terrors, as you'll doubtless agree if you've played Minecraft or Terraria at all. Night is the time to shut the door and go to sleep, or (if you're stranded in the wilderness) to dig a hole and stay there until the monsters go away. Darkout - inspired by Minecraft and Terraria - takes things a step further, by smothering an entire alien planet in suffocating gloom. Stranded on a Metroid-ish world, you'll have to use light to your advantage to fend off an army of shadowy creatures - and that's in addition to the more typical survival business of gathering resources. The intriguing Darkout's currently in paid beta, and it's now available on Desura. Also, it features jetpacks.
As far as we can tell, mod-sponge Mount & Blade is seriously lacking in the zombie-themed anime homage niche. Modder "xPearse" aims to fix up that problem with his Highschool of the Dead project filling TaleWorlds' battlefields with slavering, shambling corpses as a tribute to the popular anime/manga series of the same name.
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.