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PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Dragon Age: Inquisition E3 video emerges with 16 minutes of gameplay">Dragon Age - Intro 2

October is several months away, so if you're eager to play Dragon Age: Inquisition then the anticipation may be starting to bother you. Well, here's a bone: 16 minutes of uninterrupted gameplay footage has been released. Originally aired behind-closed-doors at E3 last month, it shows exploration, tactical and not-so-tactical combat, and the freezing of bears to death.

Evan Lahti spoke to Dragon Age creative director Mike Laidlaw at said convention, if you're after further insight into how the game will look. Meanwhile, a recent Q&A revealed that characters will be able to hug one another. It's about bloody time, too.

Dragon Age: Inquisition will launch October 7. Check out the gameplay footage below:

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Epigenesis gets official release date and dreamy new trailer">Epigenesis

Shooter or basketball aberration? Either way, Epigenesis is an uncategorisable team-based game set for release on August 1. Two teams battle it out over a single ball, which needs to be tossed through the opponent's hoop. Once completed, the successful team can claim one of the grids in the arena. Chain these grids in a line all the way to your opponent's endzone and you're the winner.

Developed by Dead Shark Triplepunch, Epigenesis was the winner of the 2013 Make Something Unreal Live competition. It's been available on Steam Early Access for a while, but the final, retail ready edition releases August 1. It costs US$9.99 for a single copy and $29.99 for four. There will also be a launch tournament, which will offer various gaming peripherals as prizes.

Check out a new trailer below. We played Epigenesis back when it was still early in development. You can read our impressions here.

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to The Wolf Among Us review (season one)">TheWolfAmongUs 2014-07-09 16-09-32-64 copy

Rather than review the finale alone, we're reviewing the entire season of The Wolf Among Us, which is sold as a package of five episodes. We've avoided major plot details, but some spoilers are unavoidable, especially for episodes one and two. Also, no, we don't know if there will be a second season, but we're calling this "season one" in the event that there is.

I don t like hitting the Q key very quickly to do things. In The Wolf Among Us, abusing the Star Trek antagonist to win a fight, to transform into a wolf, to lift a car ties the violence of sheriff Bigby Wolf to the strain on my finger. That interactive connection is a reason to include button mashing and quicktime events, but it s not a great solution. I enjoyed all five episodes of The Wolf Among Us a lot but I m disappointed that it holds onto some of the conventions established in The Walking Dead.

Like Telltale s The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among us adapts a graphic novel series (Fables) into interactive episodes, where dialogue choices make up most of the decision-making. Telltale tells a great story, and Fables makes for a fantastically odd cast and premise: Sheriff Bigby Wolf, also known as The Big Bad Wolf, struggles to protect refugee fairytale characters in a magically-disguised New York slum. The fantasy noir is alternatingly violent (gruesomely so, at times) and tender as it hits the genre staples: murder, corruption, deceit, exploitation, self-destruction, and justice.

Press 'Q' to be mad.

The Walking Dead was new and risky in 2012, but by hewing closely to the same format, The Wolf Among Us is comparatively safe. It s great for its source material and its writing, acting, character design, and ethical challenges the same reasons The Walking Dead is great but it struggles to express action, and can t always maintain the illusion of meaningful choice.

Scenic route

The Wolf Among Us too often pushes me from scene to scene like a TV show, especially in the final episodes. The lack of freedom to control my pace and direction is my biggest problem with the finale, which is too busy with climatic quicktime events to let me take a moment to live in Fabletown. I wanted to get some answers from Bluebeard, for instance, who does something earlier in the season that's never addressed, and to work out an issue with Mr. Toad, and to poke around Fabletown for more evidence before taking action. The brief running time (no more than 90 minutes an episode) and forced progression, however, mean certain relationships are skimmed over in the end. I m disappointed that, in a game about decisions, I have so little control over where Bigby goes and how he handles problems.

The Wolf Among Us' most interesting decisions are where to go next.

I like walking around, even though navigating with a static camera is as awkward here as it is in The Walking Dead. It gives me a chance to feel like I live in the world instead of just observing it. My favorite sequence in The Wolf Among Us lets me visit three locations in any order and investigate them by poking through evidence at each. I m asked to make smart decisions about where to go first and what evidence to examine, making it a rare case in games where I feel like I m actually doing an investigation. Episodes one and three do that well, but the others keep the leash on too tight.

Most disappointing is that the response to my actions sometimes feels incongruous. At one point, for instance, I chose to interrogate a suspect by the book, and was scolded anyway. A single line of dialogue in the final episode cleared my name, but it didn t really seem to make a difference. I m not concerned with how much my choices really mean I accept that certain events need to happen, and that Telltale isn t really building hundreds of unique branches but the illusion must be maintained so I don t feel helpless.

The staging and lighting is great, though there are a few graphical hiccups throughout, such as jumpy transitions between walking and cutscene animations.

When my choices do feel meaningful, The Wolf Among Us is great. And, as long as it s part of the theme and not because the characters have limited dialog, it s also great when choices don t feel meaningful. Like any good noir story, The Wolf Among Us can t be solved. The finale satisfyingly resolves the plot, but there is no right choice and there is no winning.

In the spirit of films such as Chinatown, the story is an unraveling. It begins with one murder, but over the course of the season Bigby discovers that everyone in Fabletown has something to hide and something to protect, and everyone is involved. As he grows more attached to the people he cares about one of them s a pig, actually he unravels in a way, too. Bigby s primary internal conflict becomes a metaphor for the plot s escalation and the line between justice and vengeance: is he The Big Bad Wolf, monstrous and violent, or the reformed sheriff, enforcing the law by the book?

The big, the bad, and the ugly

I really enjoyed being Bigby. He s compassionate, but resigned to his reputation as a violent bully and willing to use it to do his job. I love that I get to be menacing, and then feel guilty about it with Bigby, and then be sympathetic, and feel guilty with Bigby again when good intentions aren t enough. It s hard to choose lawful restraint over Batman-like vigilantism when liars and criminals are thrashing me around my Bigby tried his best, but I was often tempted to extend his claws. I did a couple times, like when I ripped someone s arm off, but he totally had it coming.

I liked the whole supporting cast, though some get left behind as the story streaks forward, and I wish I could have developed more meaningful relationships, good or bad. Bigby s by-the-book colleague, Snow White, has too little screen time in the final episodes, but her progression is my favorite. She begins with something to prove, but becomes a confident authority figure by the end. Bigby s affection for Snow is a subtle, complex influence where it could have been dull and romantic. I felt it was manipulative at one point, when Snow is briefly the target of an apparently violent stalker, but it got much better when I stopped trying to protect Snow and started disagreeing with her.

Snow becomes more and more interesting throughout the season.

The Wolf Among Us best conflict is between order and compassion, which is where Telltale really finds the ethical gray area it loves so much. Do you send a struggling father and his son to the farm because they can t afford the magic which keeps the Fables disguised among humans? What if Snow, the only person you trust, tells you it s necessary to keep everyone else safe? And how can you enforce the law at all when your own failings as sheriff are in part to blame for Fabletown s destitution? Why do you even want to be the sheriff, when you only seem to hurt everyone?

In the middle of the season, the fourth wall is nearly broken when Bigby is asked if he s beating down doors because he cares about Fabletown, or because he actually likes the violence. I felt like the question was directed at me, too, and I love that I didn t know how to respond I let the timer tick down to silence. Telltale succeeds best when its protagonists conflicts become my conflicts, making me question my decisions and what I would do in their shoes.

Those ethical challenges, and the quality of the characters and writing that make them matter, are where Telltale aces The Wolf Among Us. It ends with a polite nudge to continue the story with the Fables graphic novels, and I ll take its advice. Telltale got me invested and I want more I even fear a little that the comics will disappoint me, because it won t be my Bigby in the story. I wish my choices had more meaning, and I think interactivity can be better than quicktime events, but The Wolf Among Us still feels like something I lived more than something I watched.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Divinity: Original Sin developer turned off global chat to silence trolls">Divinity Original Sin

If you played Divinity: Original Sin in its pre-release days, you may have noticed a very active little chat window down in the corner of the screen. You may also have noticed that in the full release version, it's no longer there. Larian Studios actually revealed on Steam last week that it had switched off the global chat, "as there was just a bit too much profanity and insulting," but as studio boss Swen Vincke told Kotaku, the real situation was a bit more than just a bit much.

Anyone who plays games online knows that there are both good and bad aspects to it. The upside is competition and challenge far superior to any AI, and the opportunity to meet and make new virtual friends; the downside is that a lot of people on the internet are jerks. And despite his many years in the game industry, the intensity of that downside apparently caught Vincke by surprise.

"The very minute that , it seemed like the floodgates of hell were opened and all we saw was insults and shouting at each other," he said. "This was a big contrast with the rather friendly chat we had been enjoying until then in which players generally tried to help each other. We looked at it for ten minutes, saw that it was only deteriorating and decided to pull the plug. There's a certain type of fun we're aspiring to give people, and insult matches aren't part of the vision."

He said the game doesn't really need global chat at all, but the sheer size of the thing makes the ability to easily pick up a quick hint a desirable feature. He said a lot of people were seeking advice and guidance during the Early Access period on things like character builds and puzzles, and it was also a handy way to find people to play with.

The global chat function may return at some point, but not until the initial surge of interest in the game has given way. "It's a real pity though apart from a few isolated instances, we never had the same problem during Early Access and we had silent hopes that it was going to be okay," Vincke said. "We figured it was at least worth a try."

For more on how Larian went about creating Divinity: Original Sin and what the studio has in mind for the future, check out our interview with studio boss Swen Vincke right here.

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Microsoft Flight Simulator X and X-Plane 10 are winging their way to Steam">Flight Simulator X

There was a time when Microsoft Flight Simulator ruled the world. That time was the 1980s, admittedly, an era when a primitive but reasonably accurate flight simulator could provide untold hours of entertainment. Those days are long behind us, but good news has come out this week for fans of that particular kind of fun: The studio behind Train Simulator has signed a deal to bring Flight Simulator X to Steam, and the more recent (and apparently popular) X-Plane 10 is on its way too.

The last "real" Microsoft Flight Simulator (Microsoft Flight, the 2012 attempt to claim a piece of the free-to-play action, crashed and burned rather spectacularly and thus doesn't count), Flight Sim X isn't too far away from its tenth birthday, and yet it's never been released on Steam. That will soon change, however, thanks to a licensing deal between Microsoft and Dovetail Games, which has acquired the rights to distribute Flight Simulator X: Gold Edition on Steam, and to develop new games based on the Flight Simulator X technology.

Known as Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition, the game will include the Deluxe edition of the original release as well as the Acceleration Expansion Pack. Sadly, the deal does not allow Dovetail to implement any graphical updates, so the game will have something of a dated look. It will, however, make as many bug fixes as it can prior to release, and is also working to find a way around its dependence on GameSpy for multiplayer functionality.

"As you may know, Gamespy is no longer available, and so we are looking for alternate ways of providing this functionality including using features in Steam," the studio said in a statement. It also confirmed that while it will be making "all-new flight sims using Microsoft's technology," it will not actually be making new Microsoft Flight Simulator games.

For joystick jockeys less prone to nostalgic indulgence, the coming launch of X-Plane 10 on Steam may be of somewhat greater interest. Laminar Research announced that the 64-bit advanced flight simulator recently made it through the Steam Greenlight process and is now being readied for release. The Steam edition of the game will be identical to the X-Plane 10 Global Edition currently available on DVD.

X-Plane 10 is expected to arrive on Steam "very shortly," while Microsoft Flight Simulator: Steam Edition will come out in late 2014. Do you know where your joystick is?
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Divinity: Original Sin interview: how Larian built an RPG with no wrong choices, and details on its next update">dos-top

Larian Studios launched the final version of Divinity: Original Sin on June 30, after a successful Kickstarter campaign and a long stint in Steam Early Access. The extended beta time paid off: Original Sin has been the top selling game on Steam since its launch. Speaking to PC Gamer on Tuesday, Larian founder and creative director Swen Vincke says the team is "very happy," and though I can tell he's tired, he's still incredibly excited to talk in detail about my progress through the game.

One would expect it's vacation time for the studio, but not yet Vincke tells me that Larian has a major content update coming for the game, hopefully in the next week, and exclusively revealed plans for new companion AI. Our edited discussion is below, including a few clearly-marked spoilers on early parts of the game.

PC Gamer: How do you guys feel post launch? You said you're still working on the game, but what's the vibe at Larian right now?

Swen Vincke: It's funny because everybody's still so focused on doing the patching that we haven't had time to celebrate yet. Everybody took some breaks to get some sleep, and most of us took a long weekend, but now we're focusing on the patch, and we're going to have our first party next week. It will be a big one, and then we're going to go on a big holiday and then there's going to be a huge party. Right now, actually, everybody's like, "Okay, we released, so we continue to work on it." It's a rather funny feeling to be honest. We're very happy obviously.

PCG: It's the only project that Larian has right now, right? You're not working on anything else.

Vincke: No. This was all-in for us, so we said, "We have one shot at making a good RPG. This is going to be the one, so we'd better not fuck it up." That was basically the attitude, so it was stressing. But we're happy now of course.

PCG: What kind of things are you looking at in the big update?

Vincke: We basically have two types of things. We're doing hotfixes where we see problems that we can fix right away for people, and then the patch will contain some extra content. Balancing fixes. We'll introduce the AI personalities that was one feature that didn't make it fully for release. you only have no personality or random personality, which is rather clunky to play with, or the loyal personality which basically does everything you do. We will add five or six AI personalities, and they have distinct opinions about things, and so it's basically your partner. people will be able to create their own personalities.

They make decisions based on certain type of personality, and it makes the game quite different, actually, because then it's really like playing with a human being, to a certain extent.

PCG: Can you go into a little more detail on the kind of personalities that you're shipping in the update?

Vincke: We'll have a knight. That's what you can imagine. Then we'll have a rascal, a maniac, a judge somebody who's very judgmental a priest, and a free-spirit, They basically all have different traits that they prefer.

If you put in, let's say, a judgmental character, who would for instance refuse to hire a companion, that's a very big impact on your game right there. If you role-play through that, that really changes your game. It's something that can happen in multiplayer also, right? It's basically what we're trying to do. This gives single-players the feeling of what you get in co-op multiplayer, when you deal with the actions of somebody else.

PCG: Did you guys have a sense of the right way for someone to try to play this game? Is it really designed for multiplayer or is it designed to be single-player and the multiplayer is just a bonus for people who want to make that commitment?

Vincke: It's been designed from the bottom-up with the multiplayer in mind, under the motto that the multiplayer will make the single-player stronger. That sounds strange, so allow me to explain that.

If you make enough RPG like this, in which the party can split up at any time, and each player can do whatever he wants, there is an enormous amount of contingencies that you have to put in place, or you have to come up with a very systemic system which is pretty much what we've done. You have to make sure that whatever storytelling you're trying to do it will work no matter what the players are going to do.

Say that you have PetPal, for instance, which lets you talk to animals. And you're trying to find a murderer, so you talk to Murphy, a dog.

PCG: I didn't have PetPal yet, actually.

Vincke: All right. That was an option. You could have talked to him. He would have tell me, "Bring smelly clothes to me," and then you could have pickpocketed clothes from somebody, or you could have stole it from their or whatever. He would have smelt the person who was last in contact with Jake. You have that as an option. That's one of the things that was built in.

Say that you and I am your other player and I've killed Murphy just because the dog is annoying me. The game has to be able to handle that and allow you to continue . The fact that we had to do that actually makes the single-player much stronger, because all that freedom that you get in single-player for a large part is inspired by the multiplayer part, because we had to cater for it.

When you're playing it in multiplayer you can be rest assured that becomes very unpredictable, what people are doing. A lot of the development effort was actually focused around that. I'm really happy that we've done it, because typically people always say it dumbs a game down, the fact that you have the multiplayer, and I think in our case it actually strengthens it.

We didn't talk about quests at some point anymore. We just talked about situations which occurred, that players could encounter, and there was no right or not wrong way of doing it. It was just something that happens on your journey. So my advice to anybody doing an RPG would be, "Make a multiplayer version out of it."

PCG: In Cyseal, all the quests that you're given eventually end up feeling like they're part of one big cohesive plot. Is that another thing that you set out from the beginning to do, instead of giving you forking paths, bringing everything together, even though they feel so separate at the beginning?

Vincke: Yeah. We did it because, again, we had one guarantee, that we always thought, our backers and our community, this is a game which you should be able to play until the very end even if your re killing everybody. Generally it fits that pen-and-paper, systemic approach that we wanted to have, but one of the problems you have then is that we don't know who you're going to kill up-front. We have to make sure that no matter what angle you're going to take at the storyline, at least you'll have an impression that the story has been processed for you, that you're progressing in a certain way.

One of the questions designers have always had to answer here in the office was, "Okay, what happens if you kill ? How will players know how the plot progresses?" I'm not going to say that it's always easy, but there's always what we call the n+1 solution. There's n solutions, and then there's always a fall-back solution. The one that is always going to work, no matter what. A player can stumble upon an answer and make some progress. Obviously, if you kill everybody life becomes hard, but even then you will still find out what to do, and you will be able, from diaries and notes and signs, you will be able to figure out, "Hey, maybe I should go in that direction," and if we did our job correctly that should always work.

PCG: I've seen a pretty vocal minority, I think, but still vocal, group of players who talk about how some of the puzzles tend to be pretty obtuse in the game. The specific example where I found this last night was I was near the end of finding the vial of Leandra's blood and in order to open that small alcove there are a certain number of switches that you have to zoom in and find in the world, and I needed to look up a little bit of help to find it. I'm not going to lie to you or anything, but as I was reading people talking about it, there were people who seemed to think that the solution to that puzzle was pretty obtuse and pretty cheap. Do you have a response to that?

Vincke: You're in hour 57, right?

PCG: Yes.

Vincke: We're making a game between 50 and 100 hours, and for sure not everything is going to be great or perfect in puzzles. It's a puzzle, you know? Certain puzzles are going to be better than other puzzles.

PCG: Would you say that puzzles like that, where the answer is not just immediately given to you?

Vincke: Yeah. That's by design.

PCG: Were you specifically trying to build something that was more "old-school?"

Vincke: People say that it's because we were trying to put it old-school, but the thing is that if you don't put in place certain mechanisms then there's no value in you drawing your character. I don't know. What's the highest perception stat in your party?

PCG: I think my ranger has a nine perception.

Vincke: All right. That's pretty low, actually. If you would have a higher perception you would find plenty of secrets, so lots of puzzles would become a lot easier for you, because you would see little highlights appear in around things which you otherwise wouldn't see. Like, for instance ... Do you want me to spoil you something or not?

PCG: Oh, sure.

Vincke: All right. You're going to be arriving in Hunter's Edge soon, which is the next village on your list. You're going to be encountering orcs and Immaculates and the story's going to turn darker. If your perception is high enough, you're going to see a trail of blood. If your perception is not high-enough you're not going to see that. That trail of blood can shortcut for you an entire quest line.

There are multiple layers, and you would be surprised at how many there are, and depending on what your characters are there are things that you are going to discover and that other players will not discover, that part obviously being a prime example of that. I don't know how many animal quests you've done, but there's plenty of them, If you wouldn't have had the PetPal ability, all those quest lines would have been different. Doesn't mean that you can't finish the game. You just would have a different storyline, basically. Different adventure and different solutions for it. Same thing goes with characters' high perception. Yeah? They're going to have a field day on certain things.

Did you find the Troll King in Silverglen?

PCG: Yes. I found the spell book in the magician's secret alcove.

Vincke: Okay. All right. Did you find the magician's alcove by chance or by somebody giving you a direction there?

PCG: If I remember correctly I stumbled upon that ridiculous major's hidden area because I was trying to solve another smaller quest, where an imp had pushed his master off a cliff.

Vincke: Your perception was high-enough, I think eight or nine is high-enough, that suddenly that thing appeared there for you, let you go towards a little hatch, which appeared, which, if your perception had been too low, you wouldn't have found that, and you would have had to quest to find out about that.

PCG: By trying to solve that smaller imp quest I stumbled into something else that ended-up being a solution for a much bigger quest line. You're saying I did that simply because one of my characters had a high-enough perception?

Vincke: Yes. If perception would have been too low you wouldn't have found it that way. You could have found it in other ways, but this happened to be the way that you discovered it.

We put in these things so that when you have those little victories of your characters being able to defeat something, it feels like something of value, because if we would make everything simplified or like what people are calling "old-school," then we can't create contrasts. Does that make sense to you?

PCG: It does.

Vincke: It is about creating contrasts. It's same thing why the difficulty level is steep. It's like, okay, it's steep because then when you find a way of getting around it you're going to feel good about it, and that's where you get growth.

PCG: You talked a little bit about the update coming soon. Do you have an ETA for when that update will be pushed out to people?

Vincke: We are actually hoping to get it done this week, but we're still hunting something that we haven't found yet. Once we've found that one, everything should be set. I was going over the lists of everything that's in there. It's pretty much all there but it needs to be tested still. Don't make me quote a date because it really depends on testing. If they find something then it comes back and then we have to change it and then goes back into testing. Once it's tested, it's out there.

PCG: Divinity was a Kickstarter project. Then it was also a long-running Early Access game, where people could jump in, play the beta, obviously gave you a lot of feedback. How would you rate the process of making a game with that much community involvement?

Vincke: Tough but worth it. It puts an enormous amount of pressure on you because it's a lot of people who are constantly giving you opinion, but it's worth its weight in gold and it allows you to rise above yourself as a small developer like we are. It would have been impossible for us to make the game that it is now without our community, for sure, so in that sense it's a really cool development, actually.

If you would look through the tracks of the history of the development of this game, especially on the forums there's a big beta section where you can find a lot of it. You will literally see a lot of things taking shape, and being streamlined and more focused as a result of community feedback.

It's not always the best thing for your ego, that's for sure. If you listen to them you really get, literally, a goldmine, and then it's just a question of picking the right things, because obviously there's a lot of contradiction also that you have to filter through, but it's worth it. The patience of these people is enormous.

PCG: Would you say that this is a model that Larian would use again?

Vincke: Yeah, without any shadow of a doubt. Kickstarter was already pretty cool, but then Early Access I actually almost didn't go through Early Access. We were afraid of it because we went to Kickstarter and there was so much negativity around Steam Early Access, but then as we did it and we tried to do it the way that we thought would be fair to people who bought the game on Steam Early Access, I found it to be probably how developments should be. You're making it for that fraction of your target audience who is willing to participate in development, and if you work together with them you can do much greater things than you can do on your own.

Obviously it's very hard because you have to draw a limit somewhere and at the personal level you also need to draw a limit because this is the games industry. These are gamers, right? So they can be very, let's say, vocal. If you can manage to deal with that your game becomes a lot better. The list of things that they've helped us make better is just gigantic. It's really large. We still have a list of thousands of things that we would have to do for them that we never managed to do, because again there's just so much suggestions, but it's really cool.

PCG: Are they things that you still want to do with the game later on down the line? How long do you see future support for the game carrying on?

Vincke: Quite long. We have the Editor, which is shipping together with it, so that was always part of the vision. If you make a multiplayer RPG and manage to be successful then the Editor is going to give it a longer life-cycle, and we are going to ... It's the same editor that we used to make the game with, so it's not necessarily the most user-friendly thing in the world, but we'll fix that.

It's definitely powerful-enough to make the game, and luckily right now the game is doing well, so I think that we're going to supporting it for a very long time, and that's cool because that's going to help us also, because again we will have people who are using the Editor, it's the same tool that we are using, and more people that are using that thing the better it's going to become, and the better it becomes the better the RPG that we can make, so we will be happy.

PCG: Are there plans for expansions or DLC or massive content updates?

Vincke: We are going to add a number of extra companions. There were planned to be more companions, but just the deadline and production realities, that's too hard to be able to include this, so that's going to come in August, the extra companions. They will be probably more fleshed-out than the ones that are in there now, so a lot of effort is being put into that.

Then beyond that, to be honest, I told you at the beginning of our conversation that this was all-in, so we didn't really make any concrete plans. We obviously have lots of ideas, but there are no concrete sense of what we're going to do, so we're going to finish this patch, do a couple of more hotfixes and then probably we're going to take a break, and then I think at that we're going to spend August figuring out where to next, with the RPG that we're going to be making. Then we will announce it with a lot of fanfare and so forth.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Banished mod support is on the way, says developer">Harvest time is a busy season for the town market.

Harvest time is a busy season for the town market.

I killed a lot of people in Banished. You may have read something about that. The medieval settlement simulator has a distinct SimCity vibe to it but operates on a much more personal level: Individual settlers have names and lives and sometimes alarmingly delicate constitutions, which is problematic when you're in the middle of a heavy winter and the guy who's supposed to be out chopping trees has turned into one. That sort of dilemma may soon be considerably less troublesome, however, as developer Luke Hodorowicz recently revealed that he's spent the past few weeks working to bring mod support to the game.

Time constraints meant that support for mods in Banished was never really on the table, Hodorowicz explained, but as it turns out, the toolset he wrote to assist with the game's development is actually pretty well suited for the job. Of course, a good bit of tweaking is still required, and that's what he's been up to recently: Ensuring that multiple mods won't conflict and that save games keep a record of which mods were being used for which games, so players can experiment with different mods in different games.

"I ve also got to decide what to do about achievements," Hodorowicz wrote. "Some mods, like translations shouldn t change the difficulty in getting achievements, but other mods can allow placing buildings for free and adding resources and citizens with the press of a button. That clearly nullifies the achievement process."

It also cuts down on the likelihood of a disastrous crop failure reducing your thriving hamlet to a deathly-silent ghost town, but then that's half the fun, isn't it? Not necessarily, actually; it's one thing to watch Godzilla stomp through your faceless metropolis, but another thing entirely when little Doren takes his last breath, shudders and dies because you forgot to plant the turnips. Even so, I'm happy it's coming: In many ways, Banished already feels like a bizarre, cruel little digital laboratory, and in that light the addition of mod support is a natural fit.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Double Fine confirms Grim Fandango remaster coming to PC">Grim Fandango

Double Fine boss Tim Schafer revealed last month that Grim Fandango, the cult classic LucasArts adventure, was being remastered and re-released for modern systems. Unfortunately, those systems were the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita, and not the PC. Schafer didn't leave us out in the cold completely, however, saying at the time that there would be "talk about other platforms soon," and today he was as good as his word.

Schafer, who designed the original Grim Fandango back in 1998, acquired the rights to the game last year following Disney's closure of LucasArts. In a classic "good news, bad news" twist, the revival of the game was announced at Sony's E3 press event as a PlayStation exclusive. But no longer.

"Reap your heart out!" Double Fine tweeted. "We're pleased to announce Grim Fandango will also be available on PC, Mac, and Linux alongside PlayStation 4 and Vita!"

In further good news, Double Fine confirmed that all versions of the game will launch simultaneously, "So everyone can play day one and not have to worry about those spoilers you've been successfully avoiding for the past fifteen years." When that day will come remains a mystery, but right now the fact that it's happening at all is good enough for me.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Unofficial Minecraft convention canceled at last minute, organizers accused of fraud">Minecraft-Man-top

The MineOrama Minecraft convention was very suddenly canceled yesterday, less than a week before it was scheduled to take place. Unfortunate as it is, these things happen from time to time; unforeseen circumstances and all that. But the event raised "just shy" of $600,000 before the cancellation and organizers say refunds won't be offered until "replanning" is complete, and that has not gone over well with ticket buyers.

MineOrama was set to run over July 12 and 13 in New York City, and all appeared well at 10:01 am on July 7, when the MineOrama Twitter account posted an image bearing the message, "No diamond? No problem." But its next tweet, at 5:05 pm the same day, dropped the bad news. "PLEASE NOTE WE ARE NOT A SCAM," it said. "It is with deep regret that I have to inform you that @mineorama has been postponed, stay tuned for updates."

Despite its insistence that MineOrama is not a scam, a great many people responded with their belief that it is in fact exactly that, a position reinforced by the fact that the announcement of the cancellation was not accompanied by an offer of refunds. "MineOrama was postponed because financing fell through. We tried everything to recover, but had to postpone," it tweeted. "Once we replan we will be able to give specific instructions for refunds."

PLEASE NOTE WE ARE NOT A SCAM. It is with deep regret that I have to inform you that @mineorama has been postponed, stay tuned for updates..— Mineorama (@mineorama) July 7, 2014

The financing actually fell apart three weeks ago, according to further tweets, but efforts to redesign and presumably scale back the event still left it with a shortfall of around $175,000. Organizers said they will cooperate with authorities and are "sincerely attempting to make this right," but a message posted at mineorama.com also neglects to say anything about when, how or even if refunds will be offered. Instead, it states only that it expects the event will be completely sold out when a new launch date is announced, and that all current tickets will remain valid.

MineOrama organizers claimed that only ten percent of ticket sales went to event staff, while the rest was used to cover "legitimate business expenses." BebopVox of YOGSCAST, however, pointed out in a video released yesterday that organizer Lou Gasco now claims to have sold less than half the number of tickets he said had already been sold in a Forbes article from five months ago, and that according to Ginnel Davis of Pier 94, "Lou never paid payments on the venue since they drew up the contract, so the venue was given away."
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Grim fantasy RPG Lords of the Fallen releasing on Halloween">Lords of the Fallen

Halloween is a pretty apt time to release a grimdark RPG like Lords of the Fallen, and that's exactly what's happening this October 31st. City Interactive's game is proudly inspired by Dark Souls, and after watching quite a bit of in-game footage this appears to mean 'chunky, thunky combat and the ability to lose experience upon death'. I've attached a recent trailer that affords us a proper look at the game.

I don't know about you, but Lords of the Fallen's fiery hell-demons and beefy beef-men seem more reminiscent of something like Darksiders, although combat admittedly does look a bit Dark Soulsy. It's a game with a set main character, Harkyn, a convicted criminal and general wrong 'un who's been given a chance at redemption. (Redemption earned through lots and lots of killing, naturally.) The interesting part is that The Witcher 2's former Senior Producer Tomasz Gop is onboard as Executive Producer, so hopefully some of that game's pedigree has rubbed off.

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