Posts in "PC Gamer" channel about:
Worms Revolution 4-pack
Because we can never have enough big stompy mechs, we've brought in some new friends to join Hawken and MechWarrior Online. Today's Kickstarter heavyweight is Heavy Gear Assault—yep, a continuation of the mech-based universe that spanned not only two Activision games in the late '90s, but also a tactical tabletop war game and a combat card game. So much stompery! Its new developers, a blend of hardcore gamers and industry vets, are hoping to convince you to chip into their $800,000 asking price by way of this helpful destruction demonstration.
Now wasn't that fun? Play it on a loop and it becomes something quite mesmerizing. Let's hope the same hyper-detailed destruction physics will be applied to the mechs as well, because Heavy Gear Assault is aiming for a special place in eSports, and I can envision their livestreams doing very well indeed if every enemy defeat is as cinematic as that crumbling bridge.
Their Kickstarter is currently spinning up, with 39 days left to conjure a cool 800 grand from your pockets (with any extra being put towards some very ambitious stretch goals)—though it's worth noting that as Heavy Gear Assault is planned to be free-to-play, most of the various tiers' rewards come in the form of equivalent amounts of in-game cash. Alternatively, you can pledge directly on the website.
With so many current and yet-to-be-released titles, you might feel as if you're floating in a veritable moat of MOBAs. So what will Dawngate, the MOBA that EA didn't-quite-announce last week, be doing to distinguish itself from the rest of the moat-murk? Quite a bit, actually, if this dev video's anything to go by. Dawngate definitely looks like a MOBA, but the old formula's being tinkered with to keep things fresh.
In this video with Machinima, a bunch of Waystone's staff discuss the project. Creative director Hunter Howe has a special interest in lore and increasing the genre's accessibility, as well as changing things up a little.
"We're interested in some of the RTS roots of MOBAs," he says. "In our game, we have economy nodes and territory-control gameplay that's a little bit different to other MOBAs, while still trying to keep the core of what's fun about a MOBA."
Systems designer Alex Hutu elaborates, saying that one of the core features, spirit wells, are "economy objectives." A spirit well will spawn workers that harvest currency for the controlling team, adding another layer to the standard MOBA gameplay.
Also tweaked is the destruction of towers. Destroying a tower makes Striders, the lane-straddling major minions, grow stronger—but the towers can also be regenerated, instantly dropping Striders back to their previous level of strength. It seems this might provide for some interesting player choices within matches, and provides teams lagging behind with a slightly increased change of victory.
Finally, community manager Andy Belford injects a little existentialism into the interview. "We're not making this game for ourselves, we're making this game for the player. If the players don't like it, then what are we doing in this world?" he says, a little mournfully.
Interested in getting in on the action? Sign-ups are already available for the closed beta.
Upcoming free-to-play multiplayer shooter Loadout released a launch trailer last week to celebrate its arrival on Steam’s Early Access beta testing service. At first, to be honest, I just rolled my eyes. The heavy metal. The dick jokes. The guy dancing Gangnam style. Oy.
But then it started to win me over. Loadout actually looks like it could be a hell of a lot of fun. It’s stupid, but it’s stupid on purpose, and that frees us up to enjoy some great explosions and a very cool gun crafting system.
Loadout joins the pantheon of cartoonishly violent multiplayer shooters already populated by games like Super Monday Night Combat and Team Fortress 2. Where TF2 relies on its hats and cutting humor, though, Loadout’s gameplay hinges on its absurdly customizable weapons, with available combinations numbering in the “billions.”
The comparison to Borderlands’ randomized weapon system are inevitable, so there it is. It’s a lot like Borderlands, right down to the little damage numbers that, in the testing arena at least, fly off of your opponents while they are burning/bleeding/being electrocuted.
Unlike the Borderlands system, you don’t have to rely on the kindness of the game gods for a really great weapon. Just hop into the weapon builder and customize or roll the dice until you come up with something incredible. Here’s a high-capacity flaming shotgun shell sniper rifle with a collapsible stock. There’s a bolt-action heat-seeking rocket launcher that shoots explosions of health, so you can give your entire team first aid from across the map.
The results of the randomized arsenal look fantastic. Fireballs, lightning, and rockets fly across the map causing horrific explosions of cartoon gore. This sheer chaos needs to be experienced, at least just to try it out. It'll be free-to-play at launch, so why not?
An emerging theme in the games industry is developers engaging the idea that games may be disproportionately violent or too derivative. Deus Ex creator Warren Spector spoke out about the latter recently, launching off the reveal trailer for the new Wolfenstein: A New Order. Joining the conversation now is Jeremy Pope, a veteran of Rockstar Games and former production manager for Grand Theft Auto 3, Vice City, and Max Payne. In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Pope explains why he will never work on a violent game again.
“I would always kind of defend the games we were making and I was pretty proud of being involved,” he said, “but then when I would visit my grandmother in highly religious Alabama and have to explain what I do for a living, I didn't feel so great about explaining to them that I was a part of 'that game' they've been hearing about."
Pope says his decision to avoid violent games is about working on projects he can "feel a bit better about," but doesn't disparage Rockstar's accomplishments.
"I definitely want to make a point of saying that I actually love Rockstar's games," he said.
In the wide-ranging interview, Pope discusses the perception of games in the mainstream news media and how gaming is so often used as a convenient scapegoat for political topics like gun violence.
“We had the same problem 10 years ago and it still persists today,” Pope says about the NRA blaming games for high-profile gun violence. “We don't really have a great ambassador, if you will… And then you see the NRA has one guy who goes up on a podium and gives a talk, and whether you agree with it or not there is a clear single voice and something to react to.”
Check out the full interview here.
This hardened gamer still has literal nightmares about that VVVVVV level where you hop along the undersides of wildly ping-ponging platforms while trying not to fall into a pit of spikes—you know, that level. And let's not even talk about how quickly my fat fingers fail at the psychedelic Super Hexagon. Terry Cavanagh's notorious for laying out challenges of immense difficulty—what will happen when he sinks his hands into the puzzle genre? We'll be finding out soon.
Over on his Distractionware blog, Cavanagh has posted a screenshot of his next work-in-progress, a puzzle game with the oh-so-appropriate working title Halting Problem. Something tells me that the simple level layout and the happy little dude are not indicative of the near-frustrating challenges we will be posed.
Puzzling is something I actually quizzed Cavanagh on a couple of years ago, and he has some rather strict opinions on what actually constitutes a puzzle game; he feels that the term has been misapplied with some of his previous work.
"I don't really consider the challenges in VVVVVV 'puzzles,'" Cavanagh told me in an email. "I think the term 'puzzle' gets thrown around in games all the time for things that aren't really puzzles, like Tetris or whatever."
Despite his own work having shied away from puzzling territory, he's long been a proponent of games such as DROD, who he cites as an influence on Halting Problem; it'll be exciting, and possibly a little terrifying, to see what Cavanagh can accomplish in the puzzle genre.
Shadow Warrior is a bit of a blip in the history of PC gaming. The 1997 FPS from the creators of Duke Nukem 3D attempted to parody bad kung fu movies by pouring Eastern themes all over Duke Nukem's technology. While Shadow Warrior was one of the first games to really put the Build engine through its paces, it never achieved the fame of Duke Nukem or Blood. To its credit, it wasn’t horrible enough to enjoy the infamy of 1998’s Extreme Paintbrawl, one of our lowest-rated games ever.
So it comes as a bit of a surprise that Shadow Warrior is being rebooted by developers Flying Wild Hog, previously of the eye-catching but flawed sci-fi shooter Hard Reset. The new game will be a “bold re-imagining” of the late-'90s shooter. Not too bold, though. The faux-Chinese name of Lo Wang (get it?) remains applied to an ostensibly Japanese bodyguard. We’ll see how the game shapes up as we get more details.
Shadow Warrior is scheduled for release this fall, hopefully with a tagline a little more subtle than “Who wants some Wang?”
Obsidian's Feargus Urquhart recently spoke at a GDC Russia panel entitled "The decline of the gaming industry as we know it—is there a way out?" While he cast doubt on the notion that huge, console-focused, "AAA" titles are going anywhere, he declared them "not relevant for the development community as a whole." The inflated budgets and team sizes required to make such titles, he cautioned, can also be detrimental to the creative process.
"Trying to manage a team of 1,000 people, I think is just crazy... and it costs a ton of money," Urquhart said of the model used to produce games like Call of Duty and Battlefield. "The result of that is we get fewer games. And I just don't think that that's good. It means we're going to get less innovations... No one wants to try new things. Because if you're going to go spend $100 million, $200 million on a game, it has to make its money back."
Urquhart revealed that some games we think of as AAA actually cost significantly less—Skyrim and Fallout: New Vegas were called out specifically—due to a different development philosophy. He also stressed that better tools allow high quality games to be made for less money, and that the big publisher model is ultimately something that will remain restricted to a very small percentage of studios going forward.
"I question the relevance of AAA," he said. "AAA is not relevant for the development community as a whole, unless you want to go work on a team of 300 people, 400 people, and you want to make five specific games."
You can check out the full video above (though it's mostly in Russian). Obsidian's own Project Eternity became one of the most successful Kickstarted games ever last year, bringing in well over $4 million. While impressive, it's only a small fraction of the budgets for titles like Star Wars: The Old Republic, which was rumored to have cost as much as $300 million. This all seems to serve as an apt illustration of Urquhart's point: the games that get the most attention are often made by a very small percentage of studios working with wildly unusual development resources.
On Saturday more people were playing Dota 2 at the same time than there are residents of St. Louis.
Valve's multiplayer phenomenon surpassed its previous record for concurrent players on Saturday, reaching 329,977 simultaneous users. The stars may have simply aligned to produce an usual amount of free time for PC gamers, but it's more likely that there were piles of people logging into Dota 2 to watch the West Qualifier for The International 3 through the client itself.
Whether or not this makes Dota 2 the most-played game on PC remains unclear. An April report measured from a variety of unnamed sources (but including ancient utilities like Xfire) put Dota 2 above League of Legends. Riot Games claimed in response that a single server shard for LoL exceeded 500,000 simultaneous players at its daily peak. Both sets of data are unverifiable and incomplete, but our gut tells us that League of Legends' longer history (two years more than Dota 2) would give it a higher population worldwide.
Dota 2's weekend spike in concurrent players—which we always encourage you to think of as an indicator of a game's population rather than an exact representation—also comes on the heels of the Interactive Compendium.
This article was originally published in PC Gamer UK issue 252.
Starbreeze are making a game that doesn’t involve shivving someone. That alone should be remarkable, but Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a more unusual project still. It’s mechanically novel: you control two siblings simultaneously, one on each thumbstick of the (very much required) gamepavigating puzzles through a process of asymmetrical cooperation between the brothers – and your thumbs. ad.
You’re guiding them on a quest to obtain medicine for their ailing father, nEach obstacle is different, deploying tricks that are never seen again for the rest of the game’s four or so hours. It creates a lively pace to what might otherwise be a decidedly gentle adventure.
"One minute you’re dancing across hay bales, the next you’re using sheep to run a treadmill"
No challenge is especially onerous – even if operating both brothers at once adds a minor trial of coordination to every set-piece – but one minute you’re dancing across hay bales, the brothers alternately distracting a vicious guard dog, and the next you’re using sheep to run a treadmill, to power a drawbridge.
It’s gorgeous to look at. It opens in a mountainside idyll, clear rushing streams weaving through a rural hamlet, perched on the rocks below a towering white peak. Light filters in beams through the pine branches and paints the thatch cottages and stone pathways in a rich autumnal light. It’s a wondrous place to explore, even when restricted to a linear path.
"Players who focus only on the critical path to progress will be missing the point"
It’s all rather touching, too. The brothers’ different interactions with the world around them deftly sketch two different, but sweetly codependent, characters. Each has a separate single interact button, but the game deploys this with considerable imagination and variability. Just through their simple, nonverbal encounters, you quickly come to know the brothers: the older is responsible, practical and protective, the younger funloving, mischievous and daring. Interact with a lady sweeping the steps of her house, and the older brother will help her out while the younger will balance the broom on his palm. Grab a ball off a young girl and the older brother will toss it back to her; the younger will attempt to shoot for the hoop, or, with the player’s additionally mischievous intervention, toss it down a well. The little girl cries.
If this makes the younger brother seem like a bit of a shit, then he’s also naturally gifted at the harp, compared to his sibling’s atonal twanging, and loves animals – petting sheep and freeing caged birds. All of this is optional of course – but players who focus only on the critical path to progress will be missing the point and much of the joy of exploring this fiction. Once renowned as the guns for hire in triple-A development, Starbreeze may just have discovered that their heart lies with indie adventuring.
Let your attention drift from this video for even a moment and you'll miss the feature list for the updated N version 2.0, which is appended to a slightly maddening gallery of split second level shots. Think of it as a test. If you can't stay focused for the one minute and two seconds required to learn about the new levels, 2-player co-op, integrated level sharing and "Fun-lockables", you're going to have a really tough time progressing through the game itself.
Metanet Software's upgrade to the free 2D platformer is out now, introducing new levels, alongside a "best-of" of from N v1.4, and XBLA's N+. You also get an improved level editor, the "expert" challenge of Arcade Mode, and a new account system for storing created levels and high-scores.
You can download N v2.0 from the N website.