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Shacknews - Robert Workman
The Electronic Entertainment Expo is conference that is known for high points that shake up the gaming world, along with low points that can't be shaken from memory. Not to say all the conferences are triumphant or memorable, but each stood out in their own way.

Here are some of our favorite highlights over the years from the big event, and maybe we'll add on a few more after next week.
Announcement - Valve
The Rockstar Publisher Weekend continues today with great deals on Rockstar titles! From now through Monday* pick up titles up to 80% off!

Today's Daily Deal features the Grand Theft Auto IV up to 80% off!

*All discounts end Monday, March 17th at 10AM Pacific Time.

Announcement - Valve
The Rockstar Publisher Weekend starts today with great deals on Rockstar titles! From now through Monday* pick up titles up to 80% off!

Today's Daily Deal features the Max Payne 3 up to 80% off!

*All discounts end Monday, March 17th at 10AM Pacific Time.

Announcement - Valve
The Rockstar Publisher Weekend starts today with great deals on Rockstar titles! From now through Monday* pick up titles up to 80% off!

Today's Daily Deal features the LA Noire up to 75% off!

*All discounts end Monday, March 17th at 10AM Pacific Time.

Announcement - Valve
The Steam Holiday Sale continues today with huge savings throughout the store! Check back often to take advantage of our eight-hour Flash Sales. You can even help select what goes on sale with our Community's Choice Voting Sales.

In addition to Flash and Vote sales, more than a hundred games and apps will be featured as Daily Deals throughout the sale, with new deals popping up every 24 hours.

Today's Daily Deals include:

Participating in the 2013 Steam Holiday Sale will also earn customers exclusive Holiday Sale Trading Cards. Collect, trade, and craft 10 Holiday Snow Globe Cards that can only be earned during the sale. Every craft of a Holiday Sale badge will also generate a random item drop from 10 participating Free-To-Play games, featuring exclusive in-game items from Warframe, Path of Exile, Team Fortress 2, DOTA 2 and more. These items are both tradable and marketable.

Learn more about this year's Steam Holiday Sale features HERE.

The Steam Holiday Sale will run until 10AM PST, January 2nd. Complete information on Daily Deals, Flash Sales, Community Choice Voting and more can be found HERE.

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Max Payne 3 gameplay video: maxed settings at 2560×1440 on LPC">max payne 3 lpc featured

The Large Pixel Collider if you haven't already been introduced to it through the faint but ominous humming that now haunts your dreams is the most powerful gaming PC we've ever built. With four Nvidia GTX Titans and an irresponsible surplus of everything else, we're using the LPC to capture gameplay footage of supreme quality, with ambitions to go beyond 4K and into a resolution super-realm populated by beings of pure light energy.

Today, the LPC has instructed us to revisit one of 2012's best-looking games: Max Payne 3. It's Rockstar's best technological achievement on PC, and despite being a little over a year-and-a-half old, Max's unchecked alcoholism is gorgeous at 1440p.

Previously, the LPC has captured video of Arma 3 and Metro: Last Light, and screenshots of Battlefield 4 at a ridiculous 7680x1440.

Other projects in the works include super-modded tours of Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto IV, Crysis 3 at max settings, and more. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments the LPC sees and hears all.

See what's inside the Large Pixel Collider, our own personal demigod of a PC, and find out just how much it cost to build.
Announcement - Valve
Save 75% on L.A. Noire during this week's Midweek Madness*!

Amid the post-war boom of Hollywood's Golden Age, Cole Phelps is an LAPD detective thrown headfirst into a city drowning in its own success. Corruption is rampant, the drug trade is exploding, and murder rates are at an all-time high. In his fight to climb the ranks and do what's right, Phelps must unravel the truth behind a string of arson attacks, racketeering conspiracies and brutal murders, battling the L.A. underworld and even members of his own department to uncover a secret that could shake the city to its rotten core.

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time
Announcement - Valve
Save 75% on Max Payne 3 during this week's Midweek Madness!

For Max Payne, the tragedies that took his loved ones years ago are wounds that refuse to heal. No longer a cop, close to washed up and addicted to pain killers, Max takes a job in São Paulo, Brazil, protecting the family of wealthy real estate mogul Rodrigo Branco, in an effort to finally escape his troubled past. But as events spiral out of his control, Max Payne finds himself alone on the streets of an unfamiliar city, desperately searching for the truth and fighting for a way out.

Featuring cutting edge shooting mechanics for precision gunplay, advanced new Bullet Time® and Shootdodge™ effects, full integration of Natural Motion’s Euphoria Character Behavior system for lifelike movement and a dark and twisted story, Max Payne 3 is a seamless, highly detailed, cinematic experience from Rockstar Games.

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to GTA 5 PC release: all the evidence so far">GTA 5

Hordes of postmen fill the street, armies of retail staff scurry through their fluorescent aisles, and the world's console-owning population have simultaneously phoned in a variety of minor ailments. Grand Theft Auto V has launched and, by all reports, it's A Big Deal. Unless you own a PC, that is, in which case, it's a Tuesday.

What hope do we have of joining GTA 5's triumvirate of crims and, more importantly, when? Rockstar's sandbox of car chases and petty violence began its life on PC, but without an official announcement, is it safe to assume that we'll ever have a chance to holiday in the latest Los Santos? Let's delve into the murky lake of internet rumour, and fish out any facts we can find.

Leaky Lists

A publisher can use its own roving bands of guerilla PRs to whip employees into a cowed silence. The same isn't true of external partners and retailers. All sorts of GTA 5 info has oozed from the retail counters, from an early look at the map, to copies of the game itself. That may lend credibility to a number of online retail listings for a PC release.

Amazon France kicked things off at the start of the year, by taking taking pre-orders for a boxed PC copy. Then, in May, German retailers sprang to action, with both Amazon Germany and GamesOnly posting their own speculative PC pre-orders. Interestingly, GamesOnly briefly posted early details of the console versions' special edition. They were right on the money.

Does that validate the listings? Not really. Sometimes it's less about responding to information, as it is about anticipating that information. Yes, retailers will often have forewarning of announcements, but that's not the only reason they'd promote an unannounced game. Right now, Amazon UK has a landing page for Grand Theft Auto 5 PC. It quietly exists on their website, collecting the email addresses of potential customers and soaking up lovely SEO points. The need to be in the best position if/when a PC version is announced skews how much we can extrapolate from their actions.

Immoral Code

Here's the most recent piece of 'evidence'. A config file has appeared that, allegedly, was taken from a pirated copy of GTA 5's Xbox 360 version. The XML code makes reference to both PC and Orbis, the PS4's operating system. The full file is up on PasteBin, but here are the relevant PC mentions:

Image source: DualShockers

Config code found within the game? On the surface it seems like a solid lead, but it assumes that every line of every file is created from scratch. It seems more likely that this is a standard template, which would of course contain references to a PC build - along with any other platforms Rockstar might be internally experimenting on. Moreover, the presence of a PC build isn't in and of itself confirmation of a PC release. It's just an indicator that, as with most games, PCs were used as part of the game's development.

That's not to say this discovery is completely without merit. But, as above, there are too many possible caveats for it to be a firm indicator of Rockstar's release strategy.

Unreliable Informant

Last month, Chris Evans, the senior director of investor relations at Nvidia, said the following during an earnings call:

"The PC market is evolving. As entry level laptops face pressure from tablets. Yet sales of specialty PCs like gaming systems and work stations continue to grow. The disparity reflects how consumers use these different classes of PCs. Many consumers look for PC as a general purpose device they can use for browsing, email, social media video. But much of this can be better served by a tablet. In contrast, gamers are preparing their systems for a strong roster of games coming this fall, including blockbuster franchises, such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, Grand Theft Auto V and Assassin’s Creed IV."

The need to prepare driver updates and tailor hardware profiles means that GPU manufacturers like Nvidia can forge strong relationships with developers. If GTA 5 is heading to PC, they'd likely know about it. And here we have a senior director directly linking the game's Autumn release with the need to 'prepare systems'. It seemed like solid intel.

Unfortunately, it wasn't. Nvidia's senior PR manager Bryan Del Rizzo later released a statement, clarifying what Evans said:

“Please note, during our Thursday’s earnings call, our investor relations team provided a list of important games that gamers are looking forward to on PC this fall, and included Grand Theft Auto V on that list. This statement was made with the intent of expressing enthusiasm for the games industry in general, and was not intended to represent specific knowledge possessed by NVIDIA. NVIDIA does not have information on any possible PC version release of Grand Theft Auto or its availability. We deeply regret the error.”

Even if you're the suspicious type, and assume the latter statement was the company covering its tracks, the timetable doesn't make sense. It's too close to today's console release, and too soon for the Rockstar marketing train to leave its station. At best, we can anticipate an announcement before the end of the year. But if the game is coming, it'll be 2014 at the earliest.

On the next page: promising leads, historical trends, and direct information from Rockstar. Why GTA 5 is almost certainly coming to PC.

One Last Job

Back in July, Rockstar Leeds advertised for a new Graphic Programmer. The job description should be of particular interest:

"Rockstar Leeds are currently looking for a talented graphics programmer to help bring our latest titles to the PC platform. Working together with the other Rockstar studios, you will be responsible for maintaining the studio’s uncompromising quality bar, delivering the highest quality PC experience possible."

The phrase "help bring our latest titles to the PC platform" sounds pretty unambiguous. While there's an outside chance it refers to new games from existing series, Rockstar Leeds have form in taking on porting duties on older games. Their last project was was the PC version of LA Noire.

GTA 4, incidentally, was ported by Rockstar Toronto, who also collaborated with Rockstar Vancouver on Max Payne 3 before the two studios were merged. If this new plus-sized Toronto has shifted towards development of new games, Leeds would be the natural choice for heading up the company's PC porting duties. What "latest title" will they be working on? GTA 5 seems the only sensible choice.

Strength in Numbers

While we're making assumptions about Rockstar's internal workings, let's talk about its history. One of the strongest indicators of a post-console PC version is that the GTA series keeps doing them. As T.J. methodically charted, the gap between the launch console and PC release has stayed relatively stable, hovering at just over the 6 month mark. The gap between announcements is less consistent: in fact, it's growing. GTA is trending towards keeping PC - and potentially next-gen console owners - in the dark for longer. It's almost as if delaying the reveal of a more powerful version is a good way of maximising profits across multiple platforms... is what a cynic might say.

There's a chance you spent the entirety of that last paragraph shouting "RED DEAD REDEMPTION" at the screen. Fair enough, the outstanding recreation of the last days of the wild west is unusual among Rockstar titles of similar scope and scale in that it never came to PC. It is, however, the exception rather than the rule. Both LA Noire and Max Payne 3 found their way to us, proving that despite RDR's absence, there's no institutional shift away from the platform within Rockstar.

During a 2011 community Q&A post on Rockstar's Newswire, they hinted at why that particular game didn't cross over, and also used their subsequent PC ports as evidence that "we can finally put to rest any misconceptions that we’ve ‘abandoned the PC platform'." The post went on to state:

"We do know that, yes, there is just one title absent from our PC release plans – that game of course being Red Dead Redemption, and of course we’re well aware that some fans have been asking for it. All we can say is that whenever it is viable (technically, developmentally and business-wise) for us to release a game for PC (or any other particular platform) – we will and we usually do; unfortunately, that is just not the case 100% of the time for all platforms."

Layers of corporate obfuscation aside, it suggests that RDR was held back because of a specific issue with the Rockstar San Diego game. Whether it was technical, developmental, or business-wise-al, none of those factors are likely to apply to the publisher's most successful series from their flagship development team.

Lasting Infamy

While I'm quoting Rockstar, let's take a look at an understated line from CVG's giant interview with Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies on the subject of GTA Online. When asked if there was a definitive end to the game's online portion, he said, "probably not. Because we want it to last forever."

"We'll stop when we've simulated life - and then that will be the end! No, people have to keep going. There should never be an, "Oh, I've reached the end." We've got to have goals, and we've got to have stepping stones, but there should never really be an end."

GTA Online is a persistent, updating, 16-player version of GTA 5. Given that, and Rockstar's stated commitment to make it a lasting experience, why would you restrict it to the tail-end of a console's life-cycle? It seems natural that Rockstar are going to want it to live on in a more stable, long-term environment. Yes, that could apply to next-gen consoles, too. But it's a description that fits the PC like a glove.

Later on in the interview, Benzies states, "we'll get the current gen version out first and see what happens in the future." Which, if nothing else, proves that you don't get to be the president of a major developer without being able to coyly dodge questions about an unannounced release.

There's the evidence, all that remains is how you interpret it. What do you think of GTA 5's PC release chances?
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

The PC version of Grand Theft Auto 4 is unquestionably the best version of the game. Why? Mods. The still-active modding community has added a number of incredible features to Rockstar's open world. iCEnhancer, for example, makes the game look awfully pretty.

Rockstar has yet to announce a PC version of GTA 5, much to the chagrin of PC gamers everywhere. Of course, the modding community isn't going to sit still. In fact, someone's already working on retrofitting one of the sequel's new features back into Liberty City.

In GTA 5, you'll be able to switch between any of the three main characters at any time, no matter where they are in the city. GTA X Scripting (via Destructoid) is attempting to introduce that feature into GTA 4, by having 1, 2, and 3 hot-keyed to three different playable characters: Niko, Johnny, and Luis--the latter two being the stars of the Episodes from Liberty City DLC expansions.

When not being controlled, the two other characters will "wander around" and even evade the cops. It's an interesting tweak, one that will give PC gamers just the smallest taste of GTA 5.


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