Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Cassandra Khaw)

In two days, I will be on a plane for 36 hours. I am going to be very sad. Shortly after that, I will be doing my first exhibition at PAX East. Which is alternately both terrifying and kind of amazing. (I think.) So, just a short column this week because my brain is steaming like the air vents in Alien: Isolation. But I will see all of you soon. Not next week, unfortunately. But the week after that. (Apologies for the week before. Chinese New Year is murderous.) This week’s repost plushie is from dosbox!

(Wish me luck surviving the next week.)

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Article by Jody Macgregor

One of Sevastopol Station s survivors opened fire on me and I didn t even think about shooting back. I was mad at the idiot, not because he was shooting at me but because of what that noise would attract. I turned and ran, ducked into a room and jammed myself inside a locker. As I was closing the door I could already hear it slither out of the ceiling and thud to the floor. The scream and gunshots were simultaneous, but neither lasted long. Then I heard the alien: that rasping breath with the aggression of a growl and the satisfaction of a purr. It s the sound of an animal beginning to hunt, and enjoying it.

While this was happening a movie of the events played out in my head, even though all I was looking at was a grill on the inside of a locker. That s effective sound design—the kind that puts noises in a context and a space so complete you barely need to look at the screen to know what s going on.

Jeff van Dyck was the audio director on Alien: Isolation (his credits at The Creative Assembly also include several of the Total War games; he won a BAFTA for his work on Shogun), and he chose the project because he was a fan of the original movie. The alien just seemed so unstoppable and massive, he says. Not necessarily physically massive—his character. You rarely saw him and when you did see him somebody died.

Initially it just didn t sound right. It sounded like a big robot or something like that—real thuddy and mechanical almost."

To help make a game that was as close to the first movie as possible, 20th Century Fox gave The Creative Assembly access to the original sound effects, taken from eight-track and dumped to a single ProTools session of the entire film. The audio quality wasn t high enough to simply copy sounds across, but it gave them a base to faithfully re-build from using modern technology. That article comparing the visual in the game to the visual in the movie? We were doing the audio equivalent of that.

A sound that did make the transition was one of the first things you hear as the camera pans across the stars. I used it in the main menu music, says van Dyck, what we dubbed the space whale. It s this weird bending WOOO sound right at the very beginning. He wanted to let players know from the start they were in for an genuine Alien experience. It s so authentic it s actually got a piece of the movie in it. To me it sounds fantastic, and then we did a surround mix with it. Rather than it being echoey we have it spinning around all the speakers.

Structural perfection

Among the games that Alien: Isolation drew on for inspiration, van Dyck singles out Visceral s sci-fi horror game Dead Space, which itself drew heavily from the Alien movies. In Dead Space they use these things called fear emitters and they were basically just a point they would put in various parts of the level, and if you walked near that point the music would cross-fade into tension and if you moved away it would be less. Not only were they fixed points in the world, but they would attach that emitter to monsters, specially significant ones. When they got closer to you the music would amp up.

The xenomorph in Alien: Isolation has a similar intensifying effect, but as well as making the music change—more of those quivering violin tremolos—its approach makes the ambient noises subside. Sevastopol s creaking and sparking and shuddering all recede when the alien s near, making you even more aware of protagonist Amanda Ripley s breathing and the clatter of items you bump or devices you turn on.

Not every sound can be as evocative as the space whale. There need to be ordinary noises as well, the ones that ground you, that give a believable physicality to the character you re playing.  Ripley has sneakers that squeak, a backpack full of tools and scrap that jangles when she turns, and jumpsuit pants that sometimes shwiff like George Costanza s when she walks. You can buy libraries of stuff like that, explains van Dyck, and we went through a bunch of the libraries because that s obviously the easier way to go about it, but we couldn t find anything that really matched and we thought, well, you know, triple-A title. May as well go for it. We had some budget left over and we went for the proper foley.

Traditional movie foley is the art of physically creating sounds that feel right rather than necessarily being similar to what s on the screen. During the infamous shower scene in Psycho you re hearing Alfred Hitchcock plunge a knife into a watermelon. For Alien: Isolation, Pinewood Studios were hired to create an archive of sounds that would suit Ripley s trek across Sevastopol, from the sterile plastic of its medical bay to the muck of an alien nest. They did this mainly by stamping on different surfaces, including soil covered in assorted squishy vegetables. It s amazing how much stuff they can do, says van Dyck, and you ve got to imagine all this expensive equipment in this room full of dirt and broken wood and sawdust and stuff.

Getting the right noises for the xenomorph was all about manipulating digital samples, however. Its footsteps were a trickier proposition than Ripley s. Initially it just didn t sound right. It sounded like a big robot or something like that—real thuddy and mechanical almost. He s got claws and we ve got to get a sense of the claw but we want him to feel formidable and heavy so that he s big and weighs a ton. We needed to get some sub-frequencies in there so that when he walked around you still felt the floor shake a little bit.

In James Cameron s Aliens, recordings of baboon shrieks, tweaked in post, were used for the xenomorphs. In Alien: Isolation a variety of animals were sampled to get the right sounds, then put through a talkbox—a musical effects unit that takes sounds musicians make with their mouths and translates them into instruments. It s the effect guitarists use to make it sound as if their electric guitar is talking or singing. We were taking animal yells and then putting it through that and getting some really interesting results, says van Dyck. Then the guys mixed in some of the alien sounds in the sounds of doors opening, which freaks the hell out of you. It s not all over the place but there s a few spots where there s a bit of that and it adds to the freakiness of stepping into a new room. You think the alien s in there because you kind of hear it.

When the alien was up in the vents and stuff, he actually is up there. He s not being rendered.

Sometimes though, you think you ve heard the alien because you really have. The sounds of the creature crawling overhead were initially placed at random, triggering unpredictably to startle the player, but van Dyck says the effect wasn t quite right. That changed when development reached a point where the coders and animators made it possible to realistically track the alien s position even when unseen. When the alien was up in the vents and stuff, he actually is up there. He s not being rendered, when he s off-screen he becomes just a wireframe skeleton, but he is actually moving around and moving to semi-logical places because he s looking for ways to find you. There s a cool mode you can get into using the development environment, you can turn off all the walls, see through all the walls, and you can see the alien running around doing his thing. When you move over here if you bump into something you can see him hear you and start coming over to you. Then of course in the final game, because you obviously have all the walls you can t see him, all the sound he makes sounds correct and in the correct location because he is actually acting like he s supposed to up in the rafters.

Most animals retreat

That sense of being able to track your opponent by ear is essential in a stealth game, and what makes Alien: Isolation fascinating is that it s not just one of the most stress-inducing horror games released in years, but also one of the purest stealth experiences. In horror well-crafted audio is vital because of the way it fires the imagination—all it takes to frighten someone in a house they thought was empty is footsteps on the stairs. In a stealth game, well-crafted audio is vital for a more prosaic reason: you need an idea where enemies are when you re the one perched in a dark shadow. You need to know whether guards are around the next corner and if they re approaching or moving further away.

Many recent stealth games have borrowed Batman s detective vision from the Arkham games, the ability that lets him detect criminals through walls when planning how to avoid their guns and get the drop on them. Since then we ve had Dishonored s darkvision, BioShock: Burial At Sea s peeping tom vigor, Dark s vampire vision, and the remake of Thief had its focus mode. If the player can see through walls it makes perfecting expensive and time-consuming 3D audio less necessary.

In the original Thief: The Dark Project there was no detective vision, so in levels like Return To The Haunted Cathedral you had to listen carefully to tell whether footsteps were echoing around the large central space of the cathedral or whether they were coming from the enclosed confines of the corridors and vestibules near your hiding position. In the Thief remake that was impossible—the sounds were hard to place, and in the Dirty Secrets level the sound of a man being spanked by a dominatrix in a nearby room followed me at full volume down a hall, round a corner, and up a flight of stairs.

In Alien: Isolation they put in the effort, and it shows. 3D mixing is really tricky, says van Dyck, because when a sound is off in the distance it s in a very narrow point and as you turn your head you can feel it move, but as it gets closer its sound now emanates from a wider area. Simulating the sound as it gets really close to you, that was one of the trickier things that we found. The other thing is that sound over distance starts to get filtered. High frequencies start to roll off and also low frequencies start to roll off and essentially a sound becomes thinner and thinner-sounding as it gets off in the distance. If you don t apply those effects artificially the soundscape sounds wrong.

In Alien: Isolation only the designers can see through walls, so instead the player has to learn to listen with pinpoint accuracy. When you hear a door open you know which one it was, and when the alien make a noise you know how far away it is. Your only way of telling where things are when you can t hear them is by using the motion tracker, but that s risky. When Ripley s attention is focused on its screen the rest of the world blurs, and its beeping is loud enough to attract attention. In space no one can hear you scream, but everyone can hear that goddamn motion tracker.

The guys spent a lot of time on the motion tracker, says van Dyck, because different people had different thoughts on what the motion tracker should sound like. We ended up going with a hybrid between the first movie and the second movie. The Sevastopol version of the device is made for tracking on-board vermin, as the safety posters explain: Before they breed... TRACK and EXTERMINATE. For that purpose it would be fine, but it s the world s crappiest and least reliable version of detective vision—as it should be. When you re hiding in a locker, leaning back to bring it up, it can draw attention to you, and when you re in the open it can blind you to what s right in front of your face. It encourages you to listen instead, to a soundscape that s as effective as the visuals, and even more frightening.

When Alien was released in 1979 van Dyck recalls being afraid before he d even seen the movie. I remember it coming out as a kid and being too scared to want to watch it, he says. I remember seeing the poster: In space no one can hear you scream. I loved that concept. It freaked the hell out of me.

PC Gamer

Lost Contact, the fourth DLC release for Sega's xenomorphic horror hit Alien: Isolation, is now available. This time around, the ever-unfortunate Axel must use his wits to evade danger and escape from the remote area of Sevastopol Station in which he's stranded.

The setup is essentially the same as last month's Safe Haven DLC: Axel must work through ten increasingly difficult tasks as he navigates the perils of a new Survivor Challenge map featuring the Lorenz Private Wards and Emergency Power Plant. Completing each of the ten challenges earns points that can be used to access new collectible and craftable items, or even traded for a save slot. Opting for the save will cut into the final score and leaderboard position, but it might be worth the knock: Survival Mode gives players just one life, and when it's over, it's over

Even though it's obviously not the most groundbreaking DLC package ever, sometimes "more of a good thing" is more than enough. Like, for instance, when it comes to our selection for the 2014 Game of the Year, which Andy Kelly described as "the best Alien game ever" in his recent "Making Of" feature. Sega and Creative Assembly have clearly decided not to mess with success, and I suspect they might be onto something.

Alien Isolation: Lost Contact is out now.

PC Gamer

This article contains spoilers for Alien: Isolation.

Four years ago, a group of hardcore Alien fans—who also happened to be game developers—were given the opportunity of a lifetime: to make a game set in that distinctive sci-fi universe, and with the full blessing of franchise owners 20th Century Fox.

The result is Alien: Isolation, a brilliantly tense and atmospheric horror game, and the first spin-off that s ever done HR Giger s creature justice. While most Alien games look to James Cameron s action-packed sequel for inspiration, The Creative Assembly used Ridley Scott s original slow-burning 1979 horror classic as its template.

Alien is unmistakably Fox s property, but from the moment we pitched the original concept to them, they ve been completely behind us, says Alistair Hope, creative lead. I think because we were trying to stay true in spirit to the original, they felt like it was in safe hands. It s been a collaboration, but I don t think we ve ever come across anything where anyone s said, no, you can t do that.

While most developers of licensed games are pressured to finish their work in time for a film s release, The Creative Assembly worked under no such limitation. There hasn t been an Alien film since 1997 s awful Resurrection (not counting the AvP series or Prometheus), and none are, as far as we know, in the works. We had the best of both worlds. Something that was super familiar and established and brilliant, but we got to play in that space. There were very few constraints on us.

To help them, Fox supplied an enormous archive of original production material—a whopping three terabytes of it. It was like that moment in Pulp Fiction where they open the suitcase, says Hope. We were stunned that all this stuff existed. For them to be able to drop that amount of material on us was great. It gave us a really good insight into how that first film was made.

The archive contained design blueprints, continuity polaroids, costume photography, concept art, and thousands of photos of the sets, all in high resolution. It wasn t until they delved into this treasure trove that the developers realised they didn t know Scott s film as well as they thought they did.

Fox supplied an enormous archive of original production material—a whopping three terabytes of it

As fans we would have said, yeah, we know what the costumes look like, but it wasn t until we got the archive that we could really look at the details in John Mollo s costume design. We deconstructed them and tried to put that level of detail, care and attention into our costumes.

Studying the material in depth was essential, he says. You can think you know it inside out, but it s not until you actually investigate closely that you get a full understanding of it.


Look closely at the character model for Amanda and you ll see a key around her neck. It looks like it s from a fi ling cabinet or a lockbox, but this is the future, so it could be anything. It s never addressed in the game, or in any of the DLC. I ask Hope to shed some light on it and he s reluctant to answer. I don t think we need to explain everything, he says after a long pause.

Developing the game also gave the team the chance to meet a key figure in the making of the film: editor Terry Rawlings. That was amazing. The man s a genius. He edited Blade Runner as well, so he can do no wrong. He was able to give us additional insight. He talked about the director s cut and the famous deleted scene where Brett and Dallas are being turned into eggs. He said that once the alien was hunting the crew, to go to that shot actually just slowed everything down.

Pacing is something Isolation excels at, mirroring the glacial tempo of the film, but never outstaying its welcome. We felt like there was a good variety in the game. We wanted to keep changing things up, so that just as you were getting a bit more confident, we d throw something new at you.  

Some critics found the game too slow and overlong. I ask Hope why he thinks there was such a split in opinion. We tried to put as much into the player s hands as possible. Pace can often be determined by your own play style and how confident you re feeling.

You can t talk about the making of Alien: Isolation without mentioning that art design, which is one of the defining features of the game. Rather than go for a shiny, optimistic vision of the future, the artists created a lo-fi and realistic sci-fi world, directly informed by the production design of the film.

This was absolutely core, says Hope. From day one, that was what we were going to do. We ve always been massive fans of the first film, and this all came about because it felt like no one had ever created that experience in a game. It looks awesome. It s really beautifully realised and considered. It s very believable, and that s one of the great things about that film. It s very credible, even today.

Hope describes Isolation s future as mundane and grounded in reality, and says that this actually supports the horror. It s not technology that s going to help you survive. When you watch Alien, there s no sense that there s a locker somewhere with a big gun that s going to be the answer to the crew s problems. Despite all this technology—which is downplayed in the film—it s about using your instincts to survive.

Survival is what sets Isolation apart from other Alien games, but there was a greater focus on weapons early in its development. Weapon crafting was planned, but ultimately discarded. We thought about what people would want to do in order to survive. We explored different ideas, and one of them was fashioning weapons to defend yourself. That was quite early on, but then we realised that this game isn t really about pulling the trigger.

Even though it was cut, Hope says this was an important experiment. Trying things like this made them realise that the core survival concept was powerful enough to stand on its own. As well as crafting, they also experimented with viewpoint. At one point we were exploring a thirdperson camera. It was interesting, but it was a different experience. We preferred the immediacy and intimacy of first-person. In thirdperson it became a game about jockeying the camera and looking after your avatar. But in first-person it s you that s being hunted. If you re hiding behind an object and you want to get a better view of your surroundings, you have to move.

To imagine what it would be like to have the alien hunting you, The Creative Assembly used the surroundings of their Horsham studio as a starting point. At the very beginning, we thought about what it would be like to encounter and survive against that original alien. If we released one in the studio, what would we do? That was a really interesting exercise.

There were no heroes. No one said they were going to find a gun and shoot the thing dead, because that wasn t part of the universe we were playing in. It wasn t about using strength, but real-world instincts and experiences to help you survive. Some people said they would throw something to distract it, and we wanted to bring that instinctive desire to manipulate the world and change the odds into the game.

We thought about what it would be like to encounter and survive against that original alien. If we released one in the studio, what would we do?

One thing that was notably missing from Isolation was the alien s famous acid blood, which in the films can melt through metal like it s polystyrene. We had some cool ideas around it, says Hope. But it felt like we were starting to make an alien simulator, rather than something that would be a fun experience. Having holes appearing in the world starting steering the game in a weird direction, and so it seemed like it would be a better idea not to make a feature of it.

But this creative licence aside, the game sticks remarkably close to the film—sometimes to the point that some story moments, to me, felt too obviously signposted. But even this, it seems, was intentional. We wanted to tell a story that was really closely associated with that first film, Hope tells me. Amanda being Ellen Ripley s daughter... the Nostromo s flight recorder... and positioning the story to take place fifteen years later.

One chapter, titled Beacon , sees you switching roles to play as Marlow, a scavenger who ends up on LV-426, tracking the same distress call the Nostromo did. This gives you a chance to see the derelict up close, and is a real treat for Alien fans. We thought that if you re going to put an alien on a remote space station, you need to explain how it got there. Having Marlow and his crew visit the planet and rediscover the derelict did that, and just seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

Then, later, the game throws its biggest surprise at you: two aliens. I ask Hope why they decided to do this, after marketing the game so heavily as starring a single creature. We wanted to turn the tables on you a little bit. If you re starting to feel a bit more confident around the alien at that point, we make things doubly worse. I did wonder what the response was going to be.

They always intended to introduce another alien, and built the AI around having two of them working in unison. They re gonna kill me for saying this, but it was as easy as just placing another alien in the level. But only because they did such a good job with this creature that it can look after itself.

The reveal that there are multiple aliens on Sevastopol made me wonder if all the encounters preceding it were with different creatures, rather than—as you re led to believe—just one. I ask Hope, but he seems reticent to answer. I m happy for players to interpret that for themselves. No one on Sevastopol knows all the answers. Amanda doesn t, and neither does the player.

And neither do the developers, at times. The thing I really didn t expect was the fact that, as a team, we d all still be getting caught out by the alien. Even towards the end of development we d still die and jump and yell and be surprised by it. Even now I can play it and my heart will be thumping away.

As if delving into that amazing archive wasn t enough, Alien: Isolation also gave The Creative Assembly the chance to work with, and even write new dialogue for, the original film cast. This started with their reconstruction of the Nostromo. When you start a project like this you have all kinds of crazy ideas, Hope tells me. Because the first stage of development was deconstruction of the film, our creative team was tearing the Nostromo apart to find out what makes it feel like the Nostromo. This was so we could build new environments that were true to that style.

It was really exciting that they said yes. Sigourney Weaver would be playing Ellen Ripley for the first time in a videogame.

We ended up thinking, man, I d love to walk around the Nostromo. Then you wonder what it would be like to face the original alien in there. Then you wonder if you can get the original cast together to reprise their roles and play out some of those scenarios again.

Which, incredibly, they did. We told them the game was about survival, not killing. They saw the care and attention we put into the atmosphere. It was really exciting that they said yes. Sigourney Weaver would be playing Ellen Ripley for the first time in a videogame. That was something really special.

Hope says the actors had ideas about the script and their characters—especially Weaver. Ripley has been a crucial part of her career, and she doesn t treat the character lightly. We really got a sense of that. She did a lot of work reprising her role.

Playing the game, I couldn t help but think about the scene in the director s cut of Aliens where Weyland-Yutani stooge Carter Burke tells Ellen that Amanda died of cancer at age 66. I ask Hope if this was ever in their mind as they made the game. If there s one thing we know about Burke, it s that he s an extremely untrustworthy character. The one thing he needs to do is get Ripley to go back to LV-426, and there s a chance he s going to tell her whatever he thinks he needs to say.

Isolation is an incredibly brave game. It goes against everything that defines a mainstream, big budget release, relying on steady pacing and systems rather than instant gratification and broad appeal. It did feel like a risk, says Hope. But when we first pitched it the response was really positive. It seemed to be in line with what we wanted from an Alien game. Something different. Four years later, having finally released the game, it s great to see there s a large audience out there that s open to something like this. Who knows what we ll do next?

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Cara Ellison)

The first time I ever wrote anything about games, it was because I was still brokenhearted about a relationship that had dissolved years ago. PC Gamer edited the 4000 word essay into a six pager about Dota in 2012 and it is still one of the best things I have ever written. But wherever I go, whatever I do, games participate in a meaningful way in many of the relationships I see. Welcome to a special edition of S.EXE: the love letters edition. Brace yourself, you are in for chop. Here are seven stories about falling in love next to a loading screen.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

The good news in Save Haven, the third Alien: Isolation DLC pack that launched today on Steam, is that you've found the one safe room on Sevastopol Station. The bad news is that you can't stay there. Such is life for Hughes, the Sevastopol Communications Manager and new playable character, who must navigate the perils of the "Salvage Challenge" if he wants to get out alive.

Things, inevitably, gets worse: The new Salvage mode map is twice as large as any previous Survivor mode map, and you'll have to complete a series of ten tasks in order to clear a path to escape. Best of all, you only get one life, and if you blow it, you're returned to your last saved challenge, with your final score and position on the leaderboards penalized accordingly. Completing challenges unlocks rewards and points, and those points can be traded for a save slot, but again, your score will suffer.

Safe Haven is the third of five planned DLC packs for Alien: Isolation, which as you'll recall is a pretty good game—and by "pretty good," I mean "Game of the Year" around these parts. It goes for $8 on Steam, and is also available as part of the Alien: Isolation season pass.

PC Gamer

The Writers Guild of America has named its nominees for the 2014 'outstanding achievement in writing for videogames' award. Set to be decided at the 2015 Writers Guild Awards on February 14, the games include Alien: IsolationAssassin's Creed: UnityAssassin's Creed: Freedom Cry and The Last of Us: Left Behind. Note how all of these games have a colon in their title.

It makes sense that our 2014 game of the year should be among the nominees, but keep in mind that the Writers Guild of America only nominates members of the WGA Videogame Writers Caucus, or those who have applied for membership, which probably rules out of a lot of other worthy games released last year. Games also needed to be released between December 1, 2013 and November 30, 2014, which mercifully rules out The Crew, to name one example.

Here are the nominees in handy list form:

Alien: Isolation, Writers Dan Abnett, Dion Lay, Will Porter; SEGA

Assassin's Creed: Freedom Cry, Lead Scriptwriter Jill Murray; Scriptwriter Melissa MacCoubrey; Story by Jill Murray, Hugo Giard, Wesley Pincombe; Ubisoft

Assassin's Creed: Unity, Story by Alexandre Amancio, Sylvain Bernard, Travis Stout; Scriptwriting Alexandre Amancio, Travis Stout, Russell Lees, Darby McDevitt, Ceri Young; Additional Scriptwriting Jeffrey Yohalem; Ubisoft

The Last of Us: Left Behind, Written by Neil Druckmann; Sony Computer Entertainment

PC Gamer

Get your bargains in while you still can - Steam's Holiday Encore Sale, bringing together 40 of the most popular discounts of the last couple of weeks, ends in just a few hours.

Until 6pm in the UK (10am PST) you can get PC Gamer award-winners like Alien: Isolation, Divinity: Original Sin and Endless Legend for a cut price - or non-award-winners too, if you like.

There's enough choice there to suit most of you and prices are, as you'd expect from a Steam sale, very reasonable in general.

The full list of discounts is right here:

  • 7 Days to Die - 50% off
  • Age of Empires II HD - 80% off
  • Alien: Isolation - 50% off
  • Arma 3 - 50% off
  • Assassin's Creed Unity - 33% off
  • BioShock Infinite - 75% off
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel - 50% off
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - 25% off
  • Company of Heroes 2 - 75% off
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - 50% off
  • Dark Souls II - 63% off
  • Divinity: Original Sin - 33% off
  • Don't Starve - 75% off
  • Endless Legend - 50% off
  • Euro Truck Simulator 2 - 85% off
  • Far Cry 4 - 20% off
  • Football Manager 2015 - 33% off
  • Game of Thrones - A Telltale Games Series - 25% off
  • Garry's Mod - 75% off
  • Kerbal Space Program - 40% off
  • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes - 33% off
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition - 80% off
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor - 40% off
  • Mount & Blade: Warband - 80% off
  • Payday 2 - 75% off
  • Prison Architect - 80% off
  • Saints Row IV - 75% off
  • Shovel Knight - 33% off
  • Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth - 40% off
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth - 66% off
  • Space Engineers - 50% off
  • The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth - 33% off
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - 75% off
  • The Forest - 33% off
  • The Long Dark - 50% off
  • This War of Mine - 25% off
  • Total War: Rome II - Emperor Edition - 75% off
  • Transistor - 66% off
  • Wasteland 2 - 50% off
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order - 66% off
PC Gamer

Two Sega-published xenomorph-based games - Aliens: Colonial Marines and Rebellion's 2010 version of Aliens vs Predator - are no longer available to purchase directly through steam.

Some might think it's because they're pap, but it's likely because of licenses expiring and all of that silly gubbins that's hard for us normies to understand.

Basically it's a regular thing for licensing issues to stop games from being on sale via certain outlets - we've seen it with a bunch of Activision's licensed titles in recent years, as well as a similar situation with Crysis 2 the other year.

It's alright though, you can still buy both titles in physical form, and digital stores like Green Man Gaming offer both that can still be activated on Steam. (Here and here, in case you want to punish yourself).

And it's even more alright because you can continue to ignore a terrible game (Colonial Marines) and a devastatingly average one (AvP), instead picking up our game of the year, Alien: Isolation, or the infinitely better non-2010 version of Aliens vs Predator.

[via Reddit]

Announcement - Valve
The Steam Holiday Encore Sale starts today! We brought back 40 of the most popular deals to give you one last chance to pick them up while they are on sale. Only 2 days left to take advantage of huge savings on thousands of games throughout our store.

Steam Holiday Encore Deals include:

Participating in the 2014 Steam Holiday Sale will also earn you exclusive Holiday Sale Trading Cards. Collect all 10 cards during the sale to earn the Holiday Sale 2014 Badge, backgrounds and emoticons! This is your last chance to craft the 2014 Holiday Sale Badge.

The Steam Holiday Sale runs until 10AM PST, January 2nd.


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