In this week's episode, we talk all about Thief (read our review!), Wolfenstein: The New Order (read our preview!), lockpicking minigames, Broken Age, the Oculus Rift, and "focus" modes. Plus, we give our take on the end of Irrational (read our farewell) and use the word "intrinsic" a whole bunch.
Hold 'F' to slow down time and listen to PC Gamer Podcast #373 - Hocus Focus Mode.
Board game publisher Cryptozoic announced that it is making a board game based on Portal. The tentatively titled Portal: Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game is set for a release in the third quarter of 2014. Its suggested retail price is currently set around $50. A portal gun that defies the laws of physics is not included.
To celebrate three decades of improbable hilarity, the BBC is re-releasing the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy text adventure game. The thirtieth anniversary edition will be playable in-browser and will feature improved HD visuals and some social media integration. The game will relaunch on the same day that the BBC will rebroadcast the original radio plays written by Douglas Adams, which turn 36 years old that same day. I'll wait just a moment while you reflect on how extremely old you are.
Davis is becoming a problem. The sandy-haired survivor has been whining at me to finish building the chain-link fence around our stronghold, an abandoned elementary school. To me, the fence is old-hat, low priority. “Relax,” I think, “The fence can wait for another day. The four of us are about to finish rebuilding the old well out back, and then we can ride out this whole zombie apocalypse business with fresh, clean water on tap.”
Grim Fandango is one of the best adventure games ever made—an epic journey through a world that meshes Casablanca with Día de Muertos, as brilliantly imagined by Tim Schafer. First released in 1998, it was just about the peak of storytelling in the genre, but it always had one huge problem: the controls. But a new mod may solve those problems, changing the game's controls from keyboard-based "tank" movements to a point-and-click interface.
Diablo 3 historians will probably mark the time after patch 2.0.1's sweeping changes as "post 2.0.1." The upcoming update's major systems revamp—such as the removal of the real-money and gold auction houses, scaling difficulty, and the implementation of clans—marks a divide between the old (and dubiously designed) Diablo and a new Diablo far more in tune with what players want. Its end-game Paragon system will get a complete rework as well, and in an official blog post, Blizzard explains how the new system will work in Reaper of Souls.
Earlier this month, Double Fine kicked off Amnesia Fortnight 2014, an event in which you can vote on what prototypes the developer will work on and eventually release as a full game. Fans voted Mnemonic into the prototype phase as well as two of our picks: Steed and Dear Leader. Tragically, Patrick Hackett’s pitch for Bad Golf 2 didn’t make the cut, but that won't stop Double Fine fans, who decided to develop the game themselves.
Action RPG series Sacred's third installment will hit PCs this summer, according to a recent announcement from publisher Deep Silver. A suitably cinematic trailer has also surfaced, giving us a glimpse of the hero characters we'll be seeing in the new game. There's also a crumbly bridge, magic wings, and a slobbering armored troll-monster.
Last week Ken Levine announced that Irrational Games as we know it is coming to an end. Most of the team are to be laid off as the studio that gave us System Shock 2, SWAT 4, Freedom Force and Bioshock shuts its doors. The world knows them as the Bioshock developers, but for PC players, they've offered much more. We gather to reflect on the end of a great studio and celebrate their output.
Divinity: Original Sin might be the most RPG-ish name ever committed to a game. It's an almost dangerously generic fantasy title, to the point that, if the developers ever release an expansion called "Awakening", we may hit Bland Armageddon. Hellish administrators will swarm the Earth, enslaving humanity with obtuse paperwork and Toploader CDs. Hopefully they won't do that, because otherwise, their game would appear to be quite good - as evidenced by both Craig's Early Access report and this new trailer.
It's time to file legal documents and chew bubblegum, and Gearbox are all outta gum. As current caretakers of the 'King', the developers of Duke Nukem Forever are suing 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment over "unauthorized" use of the name. The filing is in response to Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, a rumoured top-down ARPG, thought to be in joint development by 3D Realms and Interceptor.
Thief – the series – has been many things. It is the grandfather of stealth on the PC, part of a design heritage that links Quake to System Shock 2, System Shock 2 to Deus Ex, and so on. It stands for the idea that ‘first person’ doesn’t imply ‘shooter’: the original BioShock might be its great-grandchild, but Amnesia and Gone Home are Thief’s descendents too.
It is the actualisation of a very specific fantasy – the outlaw shadow, Robin Hood by way of Batman – and more broadly representative of a particular type of fantasy, a gothic marriage of Hexen’s para-medieval grotesquerie and ’90s-era steampunk. For some players, Thief is about precision – perfect sequences of evasion and distraction forged with much hammering of the quick load key. For others, it’s a game of improvisation, gambits, brawls and hair’s breadth escapes.
For many, it’s about atmosphere. The sense of being an intruder. The latent threat of an Auldale mansion at night, the mysteries of an underground city, the terrors of The Cradle. Thief’s settings are a showcase for exemplary art and level design talent, a legacy that begins with Looking Glass Studios and ends with The Dark Mod, with the gaming community.
Dammit, Planetside 2! Every time they release a new continent-wide update, they upgrade the chosen landmass to utilise the redesigned Lattice system. What they mean is a linking series of attack avenues, designed to focus the flow of battle and create natural chokepoints for large-scale battles. What I always think of is lovely, tasty pastries. I'm hungry now, so thanks a lot SOE.
Other than the delicious lattice, Amerish has also been spruced up with more detail, optimised performance and repositioned bases. You can see a full round of the changes in the new update trailer.
DayZ creator Dean "Rocket" Hall plans to step down as lead designer of the massively popular multiplayer survival game. Talking to Eurogamer, Hall explained his desire to leave Bohemia Interactive by the end of the year, to set up a new studio in New Zealand.
"I have a specific use, Hall said. "I'm really good at risk-taking and making other people take risks, I've always been good at that in my life. Like you say, maybe I've got the gift of the gab, so I can talk, I can explain something, I can talk people up to the ledge and get them to jump off it.
"Eventually, that's the bad person to have. Eventually, you don't want the guy telling you to go over the top and get through. So at some point I'll be a disaster for the project, at least in a leadership role."
Like so many things in the Starbound, the current player progression system is a temporary measure. If the early access survival sandbox was a cyborg, its existing set of tiers and sectors would be a cardboard cut-out of an arm, with the words "add cool stuff here" written on in marker. In a new post on the Starbound blog, creator Finn "Tiy" Brice outlines what that cool stuff will eventually consist of.
Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. Today, Sam Roberts brushes up on his high school etiquette for a return to Bully's halls of mischief.
Bully starts with the shitty experience of going to a new school and ends with a subculture civil war. Certain media outlets flew off the handle when Rockstar announced they were making a game titled Bully, given their traditional adult subject matter and the context of the story, but the irony is that this is Rockstar’s softest and silliest game, with the warmest heart.
The GTA open-world template is borrowed almost in its entirety; even missions and distractions are similarly represented on the map. Instead of matching the earlier San Andreas’s scale, however, Rockstar Vancouver pursued detail and intimacy: the town of Bullworth feels about the size of an island in GTA III. What you get instead is an environment that shares more DNA with a Deus Ex hub or Arkham City, where there’s logic behind the placing of buildings and a more handcrafted feel to the art direction. It’s a more experimental approach to open-world design from Rockstar. I see Bully as their passion project, the chance to take commercially proven game mechanics and apply to them to the sort of story no other developers would think of telling.
Do Double Fine have all of the world's money, or none of the world's money, or just some of it? Perhaps it's time for a really tall person to hang Tim Schafer by his boots so we can see how much is in his pockets - either that or we keep an ear out for what the team are saying in interviews/Kickstarter updates/on the phone to their mums. In a chat with GamesIndustry International, Schafer has revealed that the studio has made enough money from sales of the first half of Broken Age to create its concluding chapter - which is good news, particularly for the people who thought they were funding the whole thing a couple of years ago. “We’ve made enough that we can make the second half of the game for sure,” Tim says in the above interview, confirming what I just wrote.
The last time I played a Lord of the Rings mod, I made Aragorn marry a giant spider. This time, I'm not looking for weird fan-fiction nuptials but for massive fan-fiction battles. The Last Days (of The Third Age of Middle Earth) was originally released in 2011, but it's been recently updated and made newly compatible with Mount & Blade: Warband, transforming the game into Tolkien's Middle Earth.
Spelunky was our 2013 Game of the Year, and this is why. Streamer/legend Bananasaurus_Rex has beaten the previous, piddly world record of $2,980,000 with a titanic $3,105,850, and all it took was seven-and-a-bit hours of incredibly patient play, a deep understanding of the game and its systems, and a ton of skill. Man, Spelunky is easy. It's the polar opposite of Rex's recent full speedrun, which he completed in just under seven minutes, and you can watch it below if you have most of the day spare (alternatively, you may want to skim it instead). Rex's other achievements include killing the ghost, and making the first successful solo eggplant run.
Celebrate the weekend by playing a game that will remind you of the horrors of work, a game about collecting newspapers, a game about being a space pirate, and a game about deleting cybercards. If none of those tickle your fancy, how about a nice game of colouring-in? A nice game of colouring-in with deadly consequences - oh and a bit where you get to rummage around in a toilet. Bon appetit!