PC Gamer

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds launched on Steam Early Access this past Thursday, and according to its developer, Bluehole, it has already raked in over $11 million in sales. The multiplayer battle royale shooter also drew a sizable crowd of combatants with a peak of 67,000 concurrent players, says Bluehole's press release. People didn't just play, but also watched: Bluehole reports over 150,000 concurrent viewers on Twitch.

If you're looking to get started with Battlegrounds yourself, make sure you check out our guide on how to get started and stay alive. We also wrote up our impressions of the last-man-standing shooter during its closed beta period.

PC Gamer

In November 2004, an independent studio named Junction Point was formed by Warren Spector and ex-Valve employee Art Min. The following year, it was announced the new outfit was working alongside Valve to create a Half-Life 2 episode which aimed to "fill in one of the gaps in the Half-Life universe" by fleshing out a specific part of its story. This project was ultimately cancelled, however new images offer a glimpse at how it might've looked. 

As posted on Valvetime.net, the images from Junction Point's interpretation of Half-Life depict the second main series instalment's eerie zombie town Ravenholm—this time covered in snow. 

According to Valvetime, the leaked map files suggest this Ravenholm would have included "small puzzles, scripted sequences, and fights". Valvetime also notes Junction Point's Ravenholm episode should not be confused with Arkane's also cancelled Return to Ravenholm.

"It is implied that the player crashes into a warehouse in a gondola," says Valvetime of this episode's narrative. "He wakes up in a room with two unique characters named Duncan and Scooter. There is a train station and buildings nearby. A group of rebels and Combine Soldiers fight on the streets. Duncan (ravenholm_npc_mueller) and Scooter (ravenholm_npc_scooter) are unique entities. Duncan uses a generic Citizen model, while Scooter's model is unknown.

"Some entities use JPS as their prefix in their names, which obviously stands for the studio's name. In addition to this, some objects have fields called magnet and magnetization, which are related to the Magnet Gun mentioned by Warren Spector in the interviews."

The magnet gun mentioned there was supposedly "entirely different" from the existing gravity gun, so said Spector in this Reddit AMA, however "the two would have been super complimentary."

Alas, it wasn't to be but a snow-themed Ravenholm would've been cool all the same. If not Ravenholm, which other areas of the Half-Life universe would you liked to have seen redone? Let us know in the comments south of here.

PC Gamer

As Andy reported back in January, the creators of GTA's OpenIV modding tool are bringing Liberty City as it appeared in Grand Theft Auto 4 to GTA 5. Back then not much beyond the teasiest of teasers was available, however it was understood that LC would exists in tandem with Los Santos —instead of replacing it—just a short plane journey away. Its creators now reckon a spring/summer launch this year is likely and have now dropped some new images

The following shows off the game's Algonquin and Broker Bridge areas, as well as a look inside one particular building and a view of the Liberty City skyline from afar. 

The OpenIV team also teased a number of screens towards the end of January which I myself missed at the time. There's quite a few—the full list of which can be viewed here—however here's a handful of my favourites:  

All going well, we should be able to wander Liberty City as Franklin, Trevor or Michael in the spring or summertime of this year. 

PC Gamer

The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth was, er, ushered into the world a few months ago, and if you're not up to date with the roguelikey action game and its various incarnations, know that it's basically The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth but with a load of additional tweaks and content, and modding tools layered over the top.

Before release, developer Edmund McMillen said that the game would receive monthly 'booster packs', adding select fan mods into the game via official patches, and while it's taken a little longer than expected, the first pack just went live a couple of days ago.

McMillen details the free update here, revealing that it adds new items and trinkets, including a few by the Isaac creator himself. These include Buddy in a Box, which grants Isaac a randomised baby buddy, and Lil' Delirium, which randomly swaps your familiar every 10 seconds.

For the next booster pack, which McMillen hopes will be out late next month, he's looking for new challenges, Angel Room items, enemies and bosses. So if you're interested in Isaac modding, get creating, as there's a chance your mods will be included in the game.

PC Gamer

Source: YouTuber TheFamilyVideoGamers

You may have already seen the Call of Duty: WWII "leaked" images, but if you haven't, here's the rundown: YouTuber TheFamilyVideoGamers posted a video, where he talked about a handful of images he received from an anonymous source. These images point to this year's Call of Duty game being set in World War II, and they even suggest the game will be called Call of Duty: WWII. 

Now, there's reason to believe that Call of Duty would be taking the series back to the second World War, as Activision said in a February earnings call that Call of Duty would return "to its roots." However, it's important to remember that this doesn't mean the aforementioned images are real. In fact, it makes it easier for someone to pass off fake images as legitimate art, so practice skepticism when viewing the images at the bottom of this post.

I think it's fairly likely that Call of Duty is going back to World War II this year. However, I don't necessarily believe these images are legitimate. TheFamilyVideoGamers has a subscriber count of about 320 at the time of publishing, and it doesn't really make sense to me why someone would send these images to them of all people.

Another thing I'd like to mention is that Activision's "back to its roots" comment could mean something other than World War II entirely. It could point to a more traditional, modern military setting as well. We can't be sure, but we'll keep you updated as more is revealed.

Each year's Call of Duty game traditionally gets revealed around late April to early May, so we're only a little more than a month away if they continue that this year. Last year's Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare received an unfavourable review from Tyler, who said its side attractions—Zombies and Modern Warfare Remastered—were more fun than the main game. However, this year's Call of Duty is being helmed by Sledgehammer Games, and Tyler seemed to like their last attempt, Advanced Warfare, a bit more.

Source: YouTuber TheFamilyVideoGamers

Source: YouTuber TheFamilyVideoGamers

Source: YouTuber TheFamilyVideoGamers

Source: YouTuber TheFamilyVideoGamers
PC Gamer

Beautiful pixel art police procedural Beat Cop was supposed to release late last year, but it was delayed to Spring 2017, to give developer Pixel Crow time to make a few improvements. My personal groundhog informs me that it's now Spring 2017, and hey, Beat Cop is coming out next week. On March 30, to be precise. It's a top-down, non-linear adventure game about a beat cop (you), who has to defend the streets of Brooklyn from 1980s bad guys, while eating tasty-looking donuts and, shhh, maybe taking the odd bribe if you're determined to head down a crooked path.

In advance of Beat Cop's release, publisher 11 Bit Studios has released a new trailer telling you what the game is all about. I'm not sure about the swear-laden dialogue (that doesn't seem very '1980s cop show' to me), but just look at these gorgeous city scenes, which are absolutely teeming with life:

You can find Beat Cop on Steam, on GOG, and from the Humble Store.

PC Gamer

It’s another busy weekend in the world of digital sports and lots of tournaments are heating up as they near the finish line. There’s plenty of action from the CS:GO: Championship Series to the Overwatch: Carbon Series playoffs. We even have the Hearthstone: Winter Championship games to look forward to. All the details on this weekend’s events can be found below.

League of Legends: 2017 EU LCS Spring Split

Two of Europe’s best teams clashed in Week eight and Misfits desperately tried to put their H2K loss behind them. Game one started off slow, but a chaotic team fight broke out when Misfits went for Baron. G2 read the situation and Expect used Teleport to counter, while the rest of his team chased their retreating opponents. G2’s Zven breezed through Misfits and secured a quadra kill with Caitlyn, which allowed his team to break open the Nexus for the win. Game two fell to Misfits after a decisive mid-lane team fight, but G2 picked Misfits apart in the final game with clean dives and well-timed rotations. G2 remain undefeated as we head into week nine and it looks like Misfits have some catching up to do if they wish to rival them. This week’s schedule and stream can be found over on LoL Esports.

League of Legends: 2017 NA LCS Spring Split

Team Dignitas has made a huge comeback after they obliterated Team Liquid 2-0 in week eight, and their series against EnVy was also impressive. LOD went huge on Varus and he gave Dignitas the power they needed to secure a decisive victory in the third game. Meanwhile, Phoenix1 also managed to destroy Team Liquid after Ryu constantly punished Piglet’s aggressive plays in the mid-lane. Ryu used his advantage to roam and snowball other lanes until Team Liquid crumbled under the pressure. However, TSM still remain the team to beat with 14 wins, and we shall see if Phoenix1 have what it takes to topple the LCS leaders. The full schedule and stream can be found over on LoL Esports.

CS:GO: Esports Championship Series Promotion

The European and North American promotion starts this weekend and the competition is looking fierce. Virtus Pro and Space Soldiers are kicking off the European semifinal matches on Saturday at 11:00 PDT / 19:00 CET, while Fnatic and North start their match at the same time tomorrow. The North American bracket will see compLexity tackle Renegades on Saturday at 16:00 / 00:00 CET, followed by Team SoloMid vs Bee’s Money Crew at the same time Sunday. You can catch all the action live over on the official ECS YouTube channel.

Hearthstone: Winter Championship 2017

The 2017 Hearthstone Championship Tour's first Championship stop lands on the sunny shores of the Bahamas. Sixteen of the best players from around the world will be competing for their share of the $250,000 prize pool and a seat at the Hearthstone World Championship. Long-time fans will have the chance to see previous Hearthstone world champions: Greensheep, Neirea, OmegaZero, Tarei, Yulsic, and the defending world champion, Pavel. There will also be a lot of new talented players from the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions, while underdogs like DocPwn, DrJikininki, b787, and SamuelTsao will be looking to upset veteran players once again. The full schedule and stream can be found over on battle.net.

Rocket League: Championship Series

Engines are revving up as the top eight teams from North America and Europe enter week two of the RLCS. So far G2 Esports look to be the team to beat as they had dominated Atelier before moving on to sweep Denial. If G2 can consistently maintain the level of play they showed against Denial they will definitely be on their way to earning top spot in the North American series. Meanwhile, European team The Leftovers took down both Flipsid3 and Northern Gaming 3-2, which has given them an extremely strong start to this year’s tournament. The North American matches are kicking off on Saturday at 12:00 PDT / 20:00 CET, while the European matches start Sunday at 18:00 CET / 9:00 PDT. You can catch all the action on the official Rocket League Twitch Channel.

Overwatch: Carbon Series Playoffs

The Carbon Series playoffs are kicking off on Saturday and the top four teams will battle it out to earn their place at this year’s finals. Immortals managed to take down LG Loyal in week five and they will now face compLexity in what’s expected to be an extremely close matchup. Top team LG Evil have looked extremely strong throughout the tournament and they will face the Renegades who are currently sitting in fourth place. The full schedule and teams/standings can be found by heading over to the Overwatch Carbon Series official site.

Smite: SPL 2017

The sixth week of the SPL will continue this weekend where Lion Guard and Obey Alliance will clash. Obey Alliance will be hoping to remain on top as they shot into first place after securing victories over Valance Squad and Team Dignitas. However, Obey Alliance are only two points ahead, so they will have to be extremely careful if they wish to increase their lead over the rest of Europe. Meanwhile, Team Eager are the current leaders in North America, and they’ll be tackling Luminosity who are currently in second place. Luminosity will be looking to land a critical blow to their rivals and steal first place from under them, so expect to see both teams going all out in this matchup. You can find the weekend’s schedule and official stream here.

PC Gamer

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds hit Steam Early Access yesterday, and while thousands participated in the alpha and beta, many more are playing for the very first time this week. While Battlegrounds doesn't have the raw complexity of Arma, there are still a few things you need to know before your boots hit the ground (and you swap them for different boots).

Here are some quick tips on getting started with the multiplayer shooter.

So, what is it?

Battlegrounds is a battle royale game: roughly 100 players parachute from a plane onto a 18x18km island, search for weapons and gear, and fight to the death. All the while, a shrinking circle closes around the island, a blue energy field that damages the health of players caught in it. Players must travel, by foot or vehicles, into the safe area, drawing closer and closer to the remaining players for a final showdown. 

The last player left alive, wins. Now, some tips.

Press Ctrl+T immediately

Ctrl+T mutes voice chat. You will want to do this the moment you enter the lobby, which places all the players on a tiny island together to run around, punch each other, pick up weapons, and blast each other in the face. Your time in the lobby, typically, is under a minute, but trust me: you'll want to mute voice chat right away. What do players choose to do when they know others are listening? Chant the N-word over and over because they're so damn edgy! They're not edgy, though, they're just dumb racist garbage and you should mute them before you go insane.

After a minute in the lobby, you'll appear on the plane with everyone else. The shrieking of racist slurs will continue, naturally, so don't unmute, ever, not even for a second.

Every keybinding needs to be assigned before you apply and save changes

Another thing you'll want to right away do is change your keybindings, because Battlegrounds defaults to 'C' to crouch and 'Ctrl' to walk. C to crouch? I don't think so.

After changing your crouch bindings to what a normal, well-adjusted person would use, make sure you click Apply. Is Apply grayed out? Possibly: it was for me. This means you have an unbound command, and unless every command is bound to a key you won't be able to apply your new settings.

You can fall quickly by pointing yourself straight down, but don't

You can switch between first and third person view at any time (default key is V), even when in the plane, and looking in third person while airborne is useful because you can see where other players are ejecting if you want to try to avoid the crowd. Most jump earlier rather than later (perhaps they haven't muted voice chat and simply can't stand it any longer).

Once you've ejected from the plane, you'll plummet to the island. You can angle yourself downward to fall faster. Thing is, you won't necessarily want to make a beeline to the ground, because that's what a lot of other players are doing. Typically, you don't want to land where everyone else does, because then it becomes a mad scramble to be the first person holding a gun. 

It's a better idea to freefall out of the path of the plane, and find a more distant and remote area to start looting: there will be less competition and more unlooted buildings to choose from. I know if feels strange to take your time in a game like this, but you do have some time before the circle of death begins closing. You don't always need to rush straight to the ground.

Use freelook

Battlegrounds is as much a game of Where's Waldo as anything else, and you've got to use your eyes well to win. Hold the Alt key to move your head, along with the camera, independently of your body. This is especially useful during the aerial decent, when you'll want to be scanning in all directions to spot parachutes.

You should also use freelook to scan for enemies while prone—turning your whole body is more likely to give away your position.

You can fall further from the plane by pressing W instead of holding it

While falling, you can hold W to increase the distance you fall away from the plane's path, but by pressing it intermittently, you'll actually push yourself even further, almost by swimming through the air.

Also, you'll be prompted to pull your chute as you fall, but the chute will deploy automatically when you get close to the ground so don't worry about pulling it yourself. With your chute open, you can again angle yourself down to descend more rapidly. Make sure you use free-look by holding Alt and moving your mouse: it lets you look around without changing your direction, so you can see if other players are landing nearby.

Loot with Tab, not by picking up individual items

Once on the ground, you'll need to gear up. Gear is mostly found in houses and buildings (occasionally outside as well), typically on the floors but sometimes also on tables. It can initially be hard to spot loot among the other random house clutter, but eventually it will get easier as you learn what everything looks like, and gear has a slight glow to it.

When you approach loot, you'll see a prompt on the screen to pick it up. You can obey the prompt to collect items one by one, but it's much easier to use Tab instead: it will present a column displaying everything in vicinity, right next to your own inventory. Right-clicking on the loot you want in vicinity view will quickly add it to your inventory. Picking up loot this way also spares you from the loot-grabbing animation that plays when you pick up items one at a time.

Found guns are empty

You've found a gun, and more than likely (but not always) the ammo for that gun will be sitting right next to it. When grabbing a gun and its ammo, remember that you still have to load the weapon—all weapons are unloaded by default.

While holding a gun, even in third person, right-clicking will bring you into scope/iron sights view. Currently, switching weapons with the mouse wheel is a bit sketchy—there's often a little hiccup as the weapons cycle—so you might want to stick to using number keys 1-5 for now.

Put attachments on guns with one right-click

In addition to guns, you'll find lots and lots of attachments. Red dot scopes, holographic sights, stocks, compensators, flash-hiders, extended mags, and so on. Once they're in your inventory, attaching them is a snap.

Each gun has slots for attachments, represented by empty gray boxes. Hover your mouse over an attachment, and the attachment slot for the gun it fits will show a white dotted line around the edge (see below). Right-click the attachment, and it'll be added to the gun. Have two attachments for the same slot, for the same gun? Right-clicking the second attachment in your inventory will automatically remove the first attachment and add the second.

You can drag-and-drop attachments onto guns, too, but right-clicking is faster and easier.

You can swap which shoulder the camera looks over

While in third-person, if you click and hold your right mouse button, then tap Q and E, you can swap shoulder views. This is useful if you're trying to peek different sides of cover or carefully work your way around corners.

Some gear is leveled

Got a backpack, vest, and helmet? Great! But if you come across another backpack, vest, or helmet, make sure you stop and examine it. Gear comes in three levels, so just because you have a backpack doesn't mean you can't find a bigger and better one.

When it comes to armor, it appears that levels aren't as necessarily as important as durability. Level 1 armor with a high durability is most likely still better than level 3 armor with a low durability. However, the higher the level armor you have, the more inventory slots it will provide.

Helmets can save your life, and level 3 helmets can save your face

Below, you'll see a gif of me running stupidly across a field. I'm shot, and you'll notice my helmet vanish a moment later. That's because I was shot in the head. I still take a ton of damage, but the headshot that would have killed me is prevented by the helmet, which gives me a second chance. Unfortunately, I used that second chance to die a few minutes later, but still. Helmets. Put them on your head.

Keep in mind, level 1 and 2 helmets won't do anything to protect you from a shot to the face. Only level 3 helmets will.

Turn up the volume

Seriously, put on headphones and crank the volume as high as you can without doing damage to your ears. Sound is incredibly important for everything from distant gunfire to really really distant gunfire, car and plane engines, and especially footsteps. While there is a walk button, most players run all the time, and running makes noise. Keep your ears peeled for telltale footsteps, and keep in mind that other players can hear yours as well.

Close doors—usually

Doors, by default, are closed. Upon entering a building, make sure you close the door behind you. Typically, you don't want to announce to other players that you're inside a building, and an open door signifies that pretty clearly. If someone doesn't know you're inside a building, they may just waltz in without a care in the world. In the gif below, I'd closed the door behind me and was looting when someone pulled up in a car (and naturally I heard the car before I saw it). 

Since the door was closed, the player had no reason to think anyone was inside, which let me easily kill him even though my aim was pretty shit.

The other benefit of closing doors is when you leave. An open door not only signified you're in a building, but that you have been in a building. Someone coming across a building with a closed door will probably assume the building hasn't been looted, so making them fruitlessly search the rooms and find nothing is a good way to waste someone's time.

Usually. There are times you may want to leave a door open as you leave, to let someone think you're in a building. They'll creep carefully around outside for a couple minutes long after you're gone. Again, wasting other players' time isn't ever a bad idea.

Watch out for red zones

There are two circles you need to keep an eye on: the one showing you the safe zone, and the one showing you the blue death-field. But don't forget red zones. Red zones show you an area that is about to be fire-bombed, and with your head down collecting loot or eyes out looking for enemies, it's easy to miss the on-screen text warning you about an impending bombing. You might suddenly realize you're standing in a red zone—it'll show on your minimap as well.

Being in a red zone doesn't mean you're definitely be killed—I've made it through several even as the bombs were dropping—but it's still not a place you want to be if you can avoid it.

Don't jump out of moving cars

It's tempting, I know, to leap out of a car while it's still moving. It's the kind of thing an action hero would do. But exiting a car while it's in motion will cause you damage, and if you're driving really fast you may actually run yourself over. I am my own source on this: I did it during the beta.

Believe it or not, the Dacia is actually the fastest car in the game. It's the little blue jalopy you can see below. If you're in a real hurry, choose it over the buggy.

Keep in mind, vehicles are incredibly loud—drive one and absolutely everyone will know where you are and where you're going. It's best to only use them if you're a good distance away from the safe zone and have no hope of reaching it by sprinting. If you're inside or near the safe circle, it's best to travel on foot.

Cycle through grenades by pressing 5, right-click while prepping to throw underhand

I guess the heading says it all, but if you've picked up more than one type of grenade, you can put it into your hand by pressing 5, then switch between the different types of 'nades by pressing 5 again. Also, if you want to lob or roll a grenade instead of throw it overhand, right-click while preparing to throw it.

Below: how not to throw a grenade.

A bunch of gun tips

Guns, guns, guns. There are lots to find, from assault rifles to pistols to shotguns, and even a crossbow. Here are some quick tips when it comes to guns:

The AKM is the deadliest assault rifle. However, it comes with greater recoil and less range than the other ARs.

The M16 is the best long-range assault rifle.

Shotguns aren't just for close range. They're surprisingly good at medium range, too—provided you've got a choke attached.

The Kar98 will deliver a fatal headshot, even through level 1 and 2 helmets. Players wearing a level 3 helmet can survive one, however.

Pick a pistol that uses .38 ammo. They're more powerful than pistols that use 9mm ammo, with the exception of the magnum.

Hold down shift while aiming through a scope or sights. It steadies your aim since you're holding your breath, and gives you a bit more zoom. This applies to all sights and scopes, even iron sights.

Keep in mind, if you completely run out of breath, you won't be able to sprint until your lungs recover, just as if you were holding your breath underwater (you'll see a lung icon on the lower portion of your screen).

PC Gamer

As titles go, The Franz Kafka Videogame doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but that's what it's called. It's an undeniably odd name, although not as odd developer Denis Galanin's previous project, Hamlet or the Last Game Without MMORPG Features, Shaders, and Product Placement (yes, really), but it looks very promising. In 2015 it claimed the $5000 grand prize in Intel's Level Up contest, and more recently it was picked up by publisher Daedalic Entertainment, which announced earlier this month that it will be out on Steam on April 6.

The game will offer an estimated four hours of point-and-click adventuring and puzzle solving, telling the tale of a man named K who receives an offer of employment that changes his life. He embarks on a distant voyage, and discovers to his great surprise that the world beyond the one he knows is a far stranger place than he expected. 

There will be no inventory in the game, no "RPG features," and no boss battles: Just "original logic puzzles," a unique and beautiful visual style, and of course absurdity and surrealism. Pricing hasn't been announced yet [Update: Daedalic says it will list for $10], but you can dig into it a little deeper at kafkagame.blogspot.ca

PC Gamer

The Zero Escape games, as described by one anonymous fan on our staff, are basically "a cult favorite visual novel-'escape room' series for the Nintendo DS/3DS with a plot that seems like nonsense until it all comes together and makes you go whooooaaa." The original, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors—999, for short—came out on the Nintendo DS in 2009, followed by Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward in 2012, and Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma in 2016, both on the 3DS. Zero Time Dilemma was also released for the PC last year, and now the first two games have come our way in a bundle called Zero Escape: The Nonary Games

There's no indication about how, or even if, Virtue's Last Reward has been updated for release on Steam, but 999 will boast "hi-res graphics" and new features including voice acting in both English and Japanese. In both games, players must solve puzzles and search for clues that will help them escape locked rooms and unravel the mystery of "who Zero is, why everyone was kidnapped, and the shocking connection between the Nonary Games." 

The description on Steam makes it sound an awful lot like Big Brother meets Saw, which is actually a fantastic idea for a game: "Kidnapped and taken to an unfamiliar location, nine people find themselves forced to participate in a diabolical Nonary Game by an enigmatic mastermind called Zero. Why were they there? Why were they chosen to put their lives on the line as part of a dangerous life and death game? Who can be trusted? Tensions rise as the situation becomes more and more dire, and the nine strangers must figure out how to escape before they wind up dead."

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games is available now on Steam for $45/£30/€42. The modest system requirements are below. 

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-530 CPU 2.93 GHz or better
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 9.0 compatible GPU with at least 1GB of VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card

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