Guild Wars 2 getting "Feature Pack" update, ArenaNet tease major trait changes

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Phil Savage at

After more than a year of fortnightly updates, Guild Wars 2's Living World has finished its first season. Panto-plant Scarlet has been defeated, Lion's Arch is an abandoned ruin, and an ancient evil has awakened. The future of Tyria is uncertain, and filled with the potential for much death and destruction. Things are bleak, and tensions are wrought, but I don't much care because features are coming!

ArenaNet have today announced the "April 2014 Feature Pack", a major update that, instead of adding content, will shift the balance and upgrade the systems of their game. The full scope of the patch will be revealed in stages over the next few weeks, with this first teaser focusing on the extensive changes being made to Traits - the player-assigned stats that confer passive abilities and define a profession's build.


Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty's GDC trailer shows visually improved meat chunks

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Phil Savage at

Hello. Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee is getting a major upgrade in the form of New 'n' Tasty, an enhanced re-release of the weird and wonderful 2D platformer. Described as a "ground-up remake", New 'n' Tasty promises enhanced visuals, "refined gameplay", and overhauled sound design. All that, and yet they still haven't learnt the correct spelling of odyssey. A new trailer has been released for GDC, giving you a taste of the game's new look. Follow me.


Crytek are also targeting indies, announce royalty free CryEngine subscription

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Phil Savage at

It's WAR! Not real war, with bombs and screaming, but tech war, with payment models and indie schmoozing. Last night, Epic unveiled their subscription plan for Unreal Engine 4, offering the binary development tools and engine source for $19 per month. Now, Crytek have announced their own "CryEngine-as-a-service" subscription model. It has a couple of advantages over Epic's plan: it's cheaper, at $9.90 per month, and it's royalty free.


PC Gamer Podcast #376 - GDC 2014 with Steve Gaynor, Sean Vanaman, and more

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PC Gamer at



In this week's special GDC 2014 episode, we recorded from Tyler's kitchen in downtown San Francisco with two groups of game developer guests who hiked over from GDC. First up, hear from Xaviant design director Tim Lindsey, whose resume also includes CCP, Bethesda, and Hi-Rez; Twinbeard Studios founder and Frog Fractions creator Jim Crawford; and Mode 7 Games' Ian Hardingham, who designed and programmed Frozen Synapse and is now working on Frozen Endzone.

The Division GDC trailer showcases Snowdrop engine's visuals, flexibility

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Omri Petitte at

During Ubisoft Massive's latest video tour of The Division's impressive Snowdrop engine at GDC 2014, one developer likened his ease of creating a bleak depiction of urban decay to tinkering with a Lego set. That's definitely not the same kind of Legos I remember growing up with, but the analogy is pretty apt considering the studio's deep drive to portray a massively multiplayer post-apocalyptic city in as much detail as possible.


The Forest early access coming May 22, new trailer scarier than ever

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Emanuel Maiberg at

Endnight Games has announced that its survival-horror game The Forest has a new “targeted release date” of May 22, when the game will be available on Steam Early Access. The announcement also comes with a new trailer that gives us the most comprehensive look at the game so far, and it looks even creepier that before.


Hack computer systems with sound waves in indie platformer Orbit

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Ian Birnbaum at

At first glance, Orbit doesn’t seem to have a hook. The game, made by a three-person team based out of Cambridge, England, features a boiled-down pixel aesthetic and squat, jumping character. In the long line of platformers that share DNA with Mario and Luigi, this is so far pretty unremarkable. Don’t dismiss Orbit just yet, though—plug in your headphones, watch the video below, and pay attention.


Rust diary, part 2: "It's hard to kill a naked jumping man"

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Christopher Livingston at

It's the dead of night and I'm in my cabin, which, at the moment, is essentially just a box. But I have plans for expansion. Big plans! Like adding a second box. Next to the main box. So it'll be two boxes. Anyway, I'm crafting with the spoils of my daytime scavenging and hunting. I've got ore simmering in the furnace, food cooking in the campfire, and I'm banging together some new building materials at my workbench. That's when I hear footsteps outside. They approach slowly, crunching through the grass, until they're right outside my cabin wall. Then they stop. Then... nothing.


Star Wars: The Old Republic gets player housing in Galactic Strongholds expansion

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Emanuel Maiberg at

BioWare announced on Wednesday that it will add player housing to Star Wars: The Old Republic in a new expansion, Galactic Strongholds. Like the rest of The Old Republic, Galactic Strongholds will be free-to-play when it’s released this summer.


Sacred 3 out August 23, first gameplay trailer released

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Emanuel Maiberg at

Sacred 3 will release on August 26, publisher Deep Silver announced today. Previous games in the series developed by Ascaron were fairly standard action RPGs. Keen Games, which is developing Sacred 3, is calling this one a Hack ‘n’ Slash. The difference becomes obvious after you watch the frenetic action in this first gameplay trailer.


MechWarrior Online adds achievement system, resets stat in new update

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Patrick Carlson at

MechWarrior Online's new achievement system will reward new players as well as the its most battle-hardened veteran pilots. The awards were added with yesterday's patch, and hand out in-game cash and GXP for completing various mundane and spectacular tasks on the battlefield. While several achievements can be won in a single match, others could take months or years.

Oculus CEO: Intel, Nvidia, and AMD need virtual reality, fixed console hardware won't keep up

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Tyler Wilde at

Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe believes virtual reality should ignite a new race to increase computing power, much like the rapid iteration of CPUs in the '90s. Speaking to me a few hours before yesterday's announcement of a VR headset from Sony code named Project Morpheus, Iribe expressed positive feelings about the then-rumored announcement, but was predictably concerned that the consoles' fixed hardware can't match virtual reality's rapid rate of advancement.


Clockwork Empires gameplay video — first-ever footage

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Evan Lahti at

Yesterday we ran a world-exclusive first hands-on with Clockwork Empires, Gaslamp Games' steampunk settlement-builder. Today we're glad to reveal the first-ever, non-trailer gameplay footage of the game, accompanied by some commentary from yours truly.


PlanetSide 2's PlayerStudio helps players get rich by making hats

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PC Gamer at

Looking for an exit strategy from your dead end job and have a keen eye for showstopping sci-fi helmet design? Perhaps you should consider a sideline making user-generated content for PlanetSide 2. We spoke with the game’s senior art director Trammel Isaac, who told us power users like CoffeeOutlaw are already making thousands of dollars making and selling new looks for existing weapons and equipment in the game through the Player Studio program.


Unreal Engine 4 tools and source code now available for a $19 monthly subscription

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Tyler Wilde at

At a GDC 2014 press briefing today, Epic founder Tim Sweeney announced that Unreal Engine 4 is now available for game development, but not just for big studios. Access to the binary development tools and the UE4 source code is now included in a $19/mo subscription plan. Developers will also pay Epic five percent of any revenue earned from UE4 developed games.


Crusader Kings 2: Rajas of India out next week, alongside giant update for all players

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Phil Savage at

Crusader Kings 2's patch notes are usually an amusing catalogue of historical rebalancing. As of the next free update, for instance, "hordes will be more prone to head in the 'right' direction", and "becoming infirm will abort self improval ambitions". But, aside from the mild titillation of minor AI tweaks, the patch will also make more dramatic changes to the game. As of its release on March 25th, the map will be revised, the performance optimised, and the modding scene given a home on the Steam Workshop.

Also on March 25th is the release of CK2's sixth expansion, Rajas of India, which - as the title suggests - adds the sub-continent of India. You can find more details of this paid-for addition through Tom's preview, or by watching these highlights of a recent Paradox stream.


Reinstall: Silent Hill 2

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Andy Kelly at

Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. This week, Andy returns to the foggy streets of Silent Hill 2.

Having finished Silent Hill 2 more times than I can remember, I know what lies around every corner, but the atmosphere is so thick and oppressive I still can’t play it for more than an hour at a time. This is partly down to the filthy, flyblown grime of its hospital corridors and fogbound streets, which seems to seep through your monitor. But mostly it’s because of how it sounds.

The audio design is rarely talked about with the same adoration as the wonderfully dark story and surreal, twisted art style, but it’s just as important. Audio director Akira Yamaoka used sound and music in interesting, unusual ways to create an air of both low-key melancholy and gnawing terror – whether it’s a lonely, solemn piano playing after a particularly harrowing moment in the story, or the sound of some unfathomable horror lurking in the shadows. If you haven’t played Silent Hill 2 – and I don’t blame you, because the PC version is difficult to track down – the game stars James Sunderland, who receives a letter from his wife, Mary, who died three years earlier. She says she’s in the town of Silent Hill, in their ‘special place’, and James travels there to meet her, only to discover that the town is abandoned and crawling with bizarre creatures. It’s one of the best videogame stories ever told, with unforgettable twists and turns that I wouldn’t dream of spoiling. It sidelines the series’ bloated mythology of cults and magic to tell a tragic, human and oddly romantic tale.

The Early Access Report: Frozen Endzone, Vertiginous Golf and Melody's Escape

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Craig Pearson at

Welcome to the early access report, a regular round-up looking at the most interesting early access games of the moment. Here we try new alphas and revisit old ones to separate the promising gems from the bug-ravaged time wasters.

Major sports are juggernauts and tend to not change all that much. That's probably why rugby hasn't replaced the ball with an angry goose, and why darts haven't instigated see-saws, despite my many emails. We need /real/ games for that (nor real real games - there's a difference), and this time on Early Access I've played alternative takes on American Football, Golf, and Running* in Frozen Endzone, Vertiginous Golf, and Melody's Escape.

Misery 2.1 released, is a massive overhaul of the STALKER mod

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Phil Savage at

Around seven months after the release of Misery 2.0, its team are back with a new update. Misery 2.1 might not be a big change numerically, but the STALKER mod has received some major revisions to AI, weapons, gear, economy, interface and difficulty. It's such a dramatic overhaul that the creators now consider it to be "a completed modding project", and, as such, are moving on to something else.

That something else is a Kickstarter project for The Seed: a post-apocalyptic interactive novel set in Eastern Europe. They're looking for £15,000 to finish their 2D psychological story.


Oculus Rift DK2 hands-on impressions

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Samuel Roberts at