Interviews

The perfect XCOM run: How Zemalf beat Impossible Ironman with zero deaths

Wes Fenlon at

Youtuber Antti Kokkonen, who uploads Let's Plays to Youtube under the username Zemalf, is one of the best XCOM players in the world. On January 11, he finished a 50 hour run of XCOM: Enemy Within on Impossible Ironman difficulty without losing a single country. Or Interceptor. Or mission. Or soldier.

It was a perfect run on the game's hardest difficulty (and his first time through the game). On Ironman, XCOM is limited to a single save file. No do-overs. Beating the game on Impossible Ironman is a rare feat, but beating it without losing a single soldier? That really does sound impossible. But Zemalf did it, and he recorded it all across 58 Let's Play videos.

"I consider myself an okay player, but the run did go really well," he told PC Gamer. With Zemalf's help, we've broken down this achievement in XCOM mastery, dissecting his 58 part series into the key moments that defined the run.


Interview: Mark Morgan, composer on Wasteland 2, Fallout, and Planescape: Torment

PC Gamer at

Mark Morgan may not be as "instantly recognizable" as composers like Jeremy Soule, Jack Wall or Jesper Kyd, to name just a few, but to a certain subset of gamer nerd-dom he's easily the equal of any of them. He has more than a dozen titles to his credit in a career that began in 1995 with Dark Seed II, but there are three in particular--Fallout, Fallout 2 and Planescape: Torment--that established him as one of the most unique and memorable talents in the business.

Palmer Luckey interview: The new Oculus Rift prototype and the future of VR

Cory Banks at

It's safe to say that Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey was exhausted when we sat down at last week's International CES to chat. He'd been in town for eight days, talking to the press and showing the newest Oculus Rift prototype, dubbed "Crystal Cove." The newest headset uses 360 degree positional tracking and low persistence motion blur tech to essentially keep wimps like me from vomiting during use. But even though he was wiped, Luckey still took a few moments to talk to me about the promise of VR for videogames and beyond, the rumors of John Carmack making an Oculus Rift game, and his thoughts PC gaming moving to the living room.


Garry Newman interview: on Rust and player freedom "we give them the tools, they make the world"

Andy Kelly at

Rust has been causing a bit of a stir on Steam Early Access this week. The open world, player-driven survival game is made by Facepunch Studios, which includes the designer behind Garry's mod, Garry Newman. Players are free to hunt, gather and craft their own structures, choosing their own alliances and enemies in a bleak post apocalyptic environment. How is everyone getting along? What are the best player builds Facepunch have seen so far? We asked Garry, and you'll find his answers below.

Sid Meier interview: Ace Patrol, Civ's evolution, and the future of strategy games

Cory Banks at

Sid Meier is a game design legend. He co-founded MicroProse in 1982 and created Civilization, one of the longest-running and most loved series in gaming. Now the creative director at Firaxis—and overseer for both the Civ and XCOM franchises, Meier can be choosy about what he works on. His choice: Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies, a WWI-era turn-based strategy game that's small in price but big on strategy, and even influenced by tabletop games.

PC Gamer spoke to Meier about his interest in smaller game design, and how it let his team take some risks. He also shared his view of the changing strategy game market, and how he thinks all gamers are strategy gamers at heart.


SOMA interview: Frictional's creative director discusses disturbing new sci-fi horror

Andy Kelly at

Frictional Games earned several slots in our round up of the best horror games on PC, and deservedly so with games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent under their belt. But what of their next venture, SOMA? This sinister sci-fi horror was teased with a series of live-action videos before being revealed to be another exploratory first-person horror game, this time set in a Giger-esque world of dark, undulating cables and exposed brains. Time for a chat with Frictional Games creative director Thomas Grip to discover the thinking behind his latest horror.


Pillars of Eternity interview: on combat, companions and character building

Phil Savage at

It's been over a year since Pillars of Eternity - formerly Project Eternity - raised nearly $4 million through its Kickstarter campaign. Despite being set in a brand new fiction and using a redesigned combat system, Obsidian's isometric RPG is heavily and unashamedly inspired by Dungeons & Dragons based Infinity Engine games like Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment.

With production now well underway, I spoke to the game's project director Josh Sawyer, formerly the lead designer of Icewind Dale 2, about Pillars of Eternity's combat, characters and setting, and how the team are moving beyond D&D.


The Walking Dead: Season Two interview — What it's like to be Clementine

PC Gamer at

The Walking Dead Season Two is almost here. Telltale’s Dennis Lenart, director of the Season Two premiere, and writer/season designer Mark Darin recently spoke to us about the series and its new pre-teen protagonist, fan-favorite Clementine.

Project Zomboid interview: on Steam early access, survival clothing and top modders

PC Gamer at

Article by Edward Lewis.

Project Zomboid is a 2D isometric zombie survival RPG set in the town of Muldraugh, Kentucky. Players have to fend off hordes of zombies, while seeking out robust shelter, crafting items for survival, scavenging for food and (importantly, given the horrible apocalypse) keeping your character in high spirits. The zombie apocalypse survival game is currently one of the highest rated games on Steam Greenlight, and fans take to the forums in their thousands to offer strategies for survival and promote new mods (some of which have made it in to the official build). So why is co-designer Andy Hodgetts still concerned about this Friday's Steam Early Access release?

"I don’t like to get excited by things because I don’t want disappointment," he says. "All you can do is the best you can possibly do and hope that it works out, but we have no expectations on this. We are working on a niche game for a niche set of people, but we think it’s pretty cool."

Minecraft qCraft interview: the mod that lets you build quantum computers with blocks

Duncan Geere at

Daniel Ratcliffe is the creator of the influential Minecraft mod ComputerCraft, which allows players to code for in-game computers. But his latest project, qCraft, is even more audacious - teaching quantum computing to the next generation of programmers. We spoke to him to find out what it was like working with Google, why modpacks dominate Minecraft mod discovery and how to teleport a house to the bottom of the ocean.


The Long Dark: interview with Raphael van Lierop

Leif Johnson at

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.

Thief interview -- mission structure, complexity, lessons from Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Omri Petitte at

Eidos Montreal's latest gig shaping its Thief reboot treads a fine and shadowy line. The modern entry to the esteemed stealth series has the cautious attention of franchise fans who've long awaited a new Thief, but it's also mixing the new in with the tried-and-true: a grittier and more involved Garrett, an all-revealing Focus mechanic, and a conservative jumping/climbing control scheme.


Interview: Assassin's Creed IV game director Ashraf Ismail on the future of open worlds

Shaun Prescott at

People are obsessed with pirate ships. Before we sat down to chat proper, Assassin's Creed IV game director Ashraf Ismail told me a story about how one playtester became so enamoured with the Jackdaw that he spent hours boarding it from every possible angle. "You know, we kinda needed to get some other things tested, but we let him at it anyway," Ismail laughed.


Interview: Derek Paxton, Stardock's new head of games development

T.J. Hafer at

Stardock Entertainment has just announced that Fallen Enchantress producer/designer Derek Paxton, who will take over as vice president of games development and production. Stardock CEO Brad Wardell will remain with the company, shifting his focus toward the software and business side of the operation. We had a chance to chat with Derek about his time in the industry so far, what kinds of changes he'd like to see, and what's next for Stardock.


Watch the PC Gaming World Congress from PAX Prime 2013

PC Gamer at

Last Friday at PAX Prime in Seattle, we gathered four of PC gaming's most important people—from left to right: Chris Taylor (GM, Wargaming Seattle), Jon Mavor (Co-Founder, Uber Entertainment), Chris Roberts (Founder, Cloud Imperium Games), and Dean Hall (Creator, DayZ, Bohemia Interactive)—for a discussion on the state of PC gaming. Now, through the magic of streaming video, you too can watch these four titans talk about what they love, what they want, and where they predict our dear hobby is going.


Banished interview: player choice in an indie city builder sandbox game

Ian Birnbaum at

Banished, the medieval-ish city building game from indie developer Luke Hodorowicz, raised some eyebrows early this summer when it seemed to come out of nowhere. Tyler was suffering from SimCity fatigue at the time, and beautiful videos of small towns quietly living off the land cured what ailed him.

The Witcher 3 story writer reveals unseen areas: "at any point you can go to a different location"

Phil Savage at

What we've seen of The Witcher 3 looks breathtaking, but it's also only a tiny part of the game. The trailers and screenshots coming out of CD Projekt RED have all been taken from the Skellige Islands, just one of the many and varied locations Geralt will be witching through. Talking to us at Gamescom, story writer Jakub Szamalek revealed some of the massive RPG's other regions, as well as the stories to be found in them.


Why is Watch Dogs releasing on PC? "There's a lot of PC gamers," says senior producer

Tyler Wilde at

Yesterday, after a long string of complaints, Ubisoft announced that Tom Clancy's The Division will be released on PC after all. The PC version of Watch Dogs, however, was announced with much less fanfare just after the game was revealed at E3 2012. Earlier this month at Ubisoft Montreal, I asked Watch Dogs Senior Producer Dominic Guay why that is, and also discussed the PC features and hardware requirements we can expect, the potential for modding, and plans for post-release content.


Football Manager 2014: Miles Jacobson on user-made leagues and tips from real managers

Chris Schilling at

Miles Jacobson is, in his own words, “a bit tired, actually.” It turns out the Sports Interactive boss was up until the small hours the previous night organising screenshots for the announcement of Football Manager 14, this year’s iteration of arguably gaming’s most famous simulation. With a promised 1000 improvements and a wealth of new features that offer much more scope for user-generated content, it sounds like a pretty substantial overhaul. So we rang him up to find out more, and ended up discussing pots, PR training and parallel universes.


How F.E.A.R. and No One Lives Forever are shaping Betrayer

Evan Lahti at

Earlier this week we announced Betrayer, a self-funded indie FPS from veteran ex-Monolith personnel who have formed their own studio, Blackpowder Games. Betrayer is unique—a 15th-century atmospheric shooter set in colonial Virginia—but I wanted to hear firsthand how Blackpowder's collective decades of experience on other, more action-focused franchises is informing its work on the game.