Ubisoft recently expanded their Uplay Store catalogue to include third-party publishers like EA and Warner Brothers. Their next step on the road to being a competitive force in digital distribution is more an act of contrition. The publisher realises it needs to improve its perception among the PC gaming community.
Speaking to MCV, Ubisoft's worldwide Uplay director, Stephanie Perotti, says, "Announcing all these partners for Uplay and a wider choice of PC games, it shows our commitment to PC, and we want to improve out relationship with the PC community."
"We are always seeking to improve. We took a lot of that feedback on board. With every game on PC we are improving. Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creed III on PC were very high quality."
What Perotti doesn't mention is Ubisoft's Uplay infrastructure, which, I'd imagine, was responsible for a lot of the PC community's animosity in the first place. Removing their always-on DRM requirement was an important and welcome step, but the Uplay launcher can still act as a barrier to easy game access.
Offering consumers a choice of digital shopfronts is great, but I'm yet to be convinced that Uplay currently provides a feature-set that justifies the service's rockier patches.
Hey! You guys are a community of PC gamers! How do you feel about Ubisoft's new-found affection?
Some weird cosmic alignment must be taking place today, because a number of EA games—including the sparkling Crysis 3 and pre-orders for SimCity—showed up on Ubisoft's Uplay store. It's no less strange on the digital shelves of EA's Origin, where Assassin's Creed III and Far Cry 3 sit prominently on the store's splash page. What's going on? As Ubisoft announces today in a press release, it's all part of expanding third-party support to bring titles from various developers.
And those various developers are:
Warner Bros. Interactive 1C Company bitComposer Games Bohemia Interactive Encore Software Focus Home Interactive Freebird Games Iceberg Interactive Nordic Games Paradox Interactive Recoil Games Robot Entertainment Telltale Games Torn Banner Studios
Ubisoft also says plunking down $20 or more on Uplay through March 4 nets you a free copy of Driver: San Francisco, From Dust, Might & Magic Heroes VI, Rayman Origins, The Settlers 7 or World in Conflict.
What say you? Are we all seeing the stirrings of stronger, teamed-up competition for Steam and GOG?
Ubisoft have revealed their plans for upcoming Far Cry 3 updates. Changes will include a new difficulty mode, extended custom map features and, most interestingly, the option to reset all of the game's Outposts. Available after completing the game and capturing all Outposts, the reset option will let the pirates move back in, causing each one to become hostile again. It's not quite as elegant a solution as the PCG podcast's Eternal Twist DLC idea, but is still a welcome extension to Far Cry 3's best bit.
Also incoming is the harder Master difficulty setting. According to the game's community manager, "Seasoned veterans will find themselves challenged by more aggressive wildlife, tougher pirates, and more deadly privateers. Your skills as a master of the Rook Islands will be tested."
Finally, changes are incoming to multiplayer, too. Specifically to how you find custom maps. A new rating system will let you give feedback to user-rated battlegrounds, including an overall rating as well as specific ways in which you think a map could be improved. Map authors will also be able to beta test maps, allowing them to spectate while testers fight it out.
BAFTA have released the nomination shortlist for the upcoming 2013 round of their Video Game awards. PS3 exclusive Journey tops the nomination leaderboard - it's up for eight categories. But Telltale's The Walking Dead and Ubisoft's Far Cry 3 aren't far behind, receiving nods in seven and six categories respectively. There's also strong indie recognition. Dear Esther is nominated for five awards, Thomas Was Alone for three, and both Proteus and Super Hexagon both receive a mention.
The ceremony takes place on March 5th, and will streamed live on Twitch.tv. Tune in to find out if we live in a world where CoDBlOps2 can be given an award for "Game Innovation".
Full list below:
Action Borderlands 2 Development Team Gearbox/2K Games Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Development Team Treyarch/Activision Far Cry 3 Dan Hay, Patrick Plourde, Patrik Methe Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft Halo 4 Development Team 343 Industries/Microsoft Studios Hitman: Absolution Development Team Io – Interactive/Square-Enix Mass Effect 3 Development Team BioWare/EA
Artistic Achievement Borderlands 2 Development Team Gearbox/2K Games Dear Esther Robert Briscoe Thechineseroom/thechineseroom Far Cry 3 Jean Alexis Doyan, Genseki Tanaka, Vincent Jean Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft Halo 4 Development Team 343 Industries/Microsoft Studios Journey Development Team That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe The Room Mark Hamilton, Rob Dodd, Barry Meade Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games
Audio Achievement Assassin's Creed III Mathieu Jeanson Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft Beat Sneak Bandit Simon Flesser, Magnus "Gordon" Gardebäck, Simogo/Simogo Dear Esther Jessica Curry Thechineseroom/thechineseroom Far Cry 3 Dan Hay, Tony Gronick, Brian Tyler Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft Halo 4 Development Team 343 Industries/Microsoft Studios Journey Development Team That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Best Game Dishonoured Development Team Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks Far Cry 3 Dan Hay, Patrick Plourde, Patrik Methè Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft FIFA 13 David Rutter, Nick Channon, Aaron McHardy EA Canada/EA Journey Development Team That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Mass Effect 3 Casey Hudson BioWare/EA The Walking Dead Development Team Telltale Games/Telltale
British Game Dear Esther Daniel Pinchbeck, Robert Briscoe, Jessica Curry Thechineseroom/thechineseroom Forza Horizon Development Team Playground Games/Turn 10 Studios/Microsoft Studios LEGO: The Lord of the Rings Development Team TT Games/Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment Need for Speed Most Wanted Development Team Criterion Games/EA The Room Mark Hamilton, Rob Dodd, Barry Meade Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games Super Hexagon Terry Cavanagh, Niamh Houston, Jenn Frank Terry Cavanagh/Terry Cavanagh
Debut Game Deadlight Raul Rubio, Luz Sancho, Oscar Cuesta Tequila Works/Microsoft Studios Dear Esther DanielPinchbeck, Robert Briscoe, Jessica Curry Thechineseroom/thechineseroom Forza Horizon Development Team Playground Games/Turn 10 Studios/Microsoft Studios Proteus Ed Key, David Kanaga Twisted Tree Games/Twisted Tree Games The Room Mark Hamilton, Rob Dodd, Barry Meade Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games The Unfinished Swan Ian Dallas, Nathan Gary Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Game Design Borderlands 2 Development Team Gearbox/2K Games Dishonored Development Team Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks Far Cry 3 Patrick Methè, Jamie Keen Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft Journey Development Team That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe The Walking Dead Development Team Telltale Games/Telltale XCOM: Enemy Unknown Development Team Firaxis/2K Games
Family Clay Jam Chris Roem Iain Gilfeather, Michael Movel Fat Pebble/Zynga Just Dance 4 Alkis Argyriadis, Matthew Tomkinson, Veronique Halbrey Ubisoft Paris/Ubisoft LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes Jon Burton, Jonathan Smith, John Hodskinson TT Games/Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment LEGO the Lord of the Rings Development Team TT Games/Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment Minecraft: XBOX 360 Edition Development Team Mojang/4J Studios/Microsoft Studios Xbox LIVE Arcade Skylanders Giants Paul Reiche, Fred Ford, Scott Krager Toys For Bob/Activision
Game Innovation Call of Duty: Black Ops II Development Team Treyarch/Activision Fez Development Team Polytron Corporation/Microsoft Studios Xbox LIVE Arcade Journey Development Team That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Kinect Sesame Street TV Development Team Soho Productions/Microsoft Studios The Unfinished Swan Ian Dallas, Nathan Gary Development Team Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Wonderbook: Books of Spells Development Team London Studio/ Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Mobile & Handheld Incoboto Dene Carter Fluttermind/Fluttermind LittleBigPlanet (Vita) Tom O'Connor, Mattias Nygren, Lee Hutchinson Tarsier Studios/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe New Star Soccer Simon Read New Star Games/New Star Games The Room Mark Hamilton, Rob Dodd, Barry Meade Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games Super Monsters Ate My Condo Development Team Adult Swim Games/Adult Swim Games The Walking Dead Development Team Telltale Games/Telltale
Online - Browser Amateur Surgeon Hospital Development Team Mediatonic/Adult Swim Games Dick and Dom's HOOPLA! Adam Clay Team Cooper/CBBC Merlin: The Game Development Team Bossa Studios/Bossa Studios Runescape Development Team Jagex/Jagex The Settlers Online Christopher Schmitz, Guido Schmidt, Rainer Reber Blue Byte Software/Ubisoft SongPop Olivier Michon, Thibaut Crenn, Daouna Jeong FreshPlanet/FreshPlanet
Online - Multiplayer Assassin's Creed III Damien Kieken, Mathieu Granjon, Yann Le Guyader Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft Borderlands 2 DevelopmentTeam Gearbox/2K Games Call of Duty: Black Ops II Development Team Treyarch/Activision Halo 4 Development Team 343 Industries/Microsoft Studios Journey Development Team That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Need For Speed Most Wanted Development Team Criterion Games/EA
Original Music Assassin's Creed III Lorne Balfe Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft Diablo III Development Team Blizzard Entertainment/ Blizzard Entertainment Journey Austin Wintory That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Thomas Was Alone David Housden Mike Bithell/Mike Bithell The Unfinished Swan Joel Corlitz, Ian Dallas, Peter Scaturro Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe The Walking Dead Development Team Telltale Games/Telltale
Performer Adrian Hough (Haytham) - Assassin's Creed III Danny Wallace (The Narrator) - Thomas Was Alone Dave Fennoy (Lee Everett) - The Walking Dead Melissa Hutchinson (Clementine) - The Walking Dead Nigel Carrington (The Narrator) - Dear Esther Nolan North (Nathan Drake) - Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Sports/Fitness FIFA 13 David Rutter, Nick Channon, Aaron McHardy EA Canada/EA F1 2012 Development Team Codemasters Birmingham/Codemasters Racing Forza Horizon Development Team Playground Games/Turn10 Studios/Microsoft Studios New Star Soccer Simon Read New Star Games/New Star Games Nike+ Kinect Training Development Team Sumo Digital Ltd/Microsoft Studios Trials Evolution Development Team Antti llvessup, Kim Lahti RedLynx/Microsoft Studios
Story Dishonoured Development Team Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks Far Cry 3 Jeffrey Yohalem, Lucien Soulban, Jeffrey Yohalem Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft Journey Development Team That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Mass Effect 3 Mac Walters BioWare/EA Thomas was Alone Mike Bithell Mike Bithell/Mike Bithell The Walking Dead Development Team Telltale Games/Telltale
Strategy Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Development Team From Software/Namco Bandai Games Diablo III Development Team Blizzard Entertainment/Blizzard Entertainment Football Manager 2013 Development Team Sports Interactive/SEGA Great Big War Game David Moss, Steve Venezia, Paul Johnson Rubicon Development/Rubican Development Total War Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai Development Team The Creative Assembly/SEGA XCOM: Enemy Unknown Development Team Firaxis/2K Games
BAFTA Ones to Watch Award in association with Dare to Be Digital Pixel Story Martin Cosens, Thomas McParland, Ashley Hayes, Benhamin Rushton, Luke Harrison (Loan Wolf Games) Project Thanatos Hugh Laird, Andrew Coles, Thomas Laird, Alexandra Shapland, Thomas Kemp (Raptor Games) Starcrossed Kimi Sulopuisto, Vili Viitaniemi, Minttu Meriläinen, Petri Liuska, Andrew MacLean (Kind of a Big Deal)
Given that they've been recognising games for a few years now, shouldn't BAFTA update their acronym to reflect the fact? BAFTGA, maybe? BAGFTA? Perhaps not.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: calling all Tapirs, please be on guard. Ubi have revised their yearly profit estimates up to somewhere between 90 and 100 million Euros after better-than-expected sales late last year, and are going to need a much bigger wallet.
Gamasutra report that Assassin's Creed 3 shifted 12 million copies in the meatspace and online which is 70% more than AssCreed: Revelations managed. Far Cry 3 sold 4.5 million. A "much higher-than-expected performance," which means "fans certainly won't have to wait four more years for the next Far Cry."
The next Assassin's Creed was also briefly mentioned. It'll apparently take place in a fresh setting and star a new hero. So much for Connor, then. Requiescat in pace, brusque angry hatchet-dude. I will remember you always, apart from your face and everything you said and did.
That's all the info for now, but there's still time to honour Haiku Friday with a brief but moving summation of all our hopes and dreams for Far Cry 4.
Jason Brody-bot, Turns dinosaurs into bags, Stabby stabby stab.
Vaas embodies the savagery of Far Cry 3's Rook Islands. The unbalanced pirate boss is one of the stand-out villains in recent memory. In an interview with IGN, Ubisoft Producer Dan Hay compares Vaas' memorable presence with how Darth Vader commanded attention whenever he appeared.
Warning: spoilers ahead.
"You think about that opening scene in Star Wars," Hay says. "What you think is a huge ship is going by overhead, and then it's absolutely dwarfed by a massive ship. Then everything inside it is white, and the rebels are holding against the door. It blows up. They just had a firefight going on, and when it’s all over, in walks this guy who’s head-to-toe in shiny black. That moment is galvanized in your memory as a kid forever. For us, our focus was giving that same taste for Vaas and making sure that it’s short, sweet, and about craving more of it."
Also in the interview, Far Cry 3 Lead Writer Jeffrey Yohalem, explains why Ubisoft decided to let players kill Vaas halfway through the game. Yohalem, who's made several attempts to clarify the meaning of the game's story in interviews, says that Vaas' sudden death halfway through was totally intentional. The decision was driven by, of all things, Virginia Woolf’s 1927 novel To The Lighthouse and its offhanded mention of the death of the main character.
"She dies in the middle kind of parenthetically," Yohalem says. "The whole book is going, and you get to these parentheses in this middle portion, and she’s dead. The rest of the book is about the absence of her. That is so daring. And we did it. I think that it's hard for some people, but at the same time, you also want that kind of a character to take a bow when everyone wants him the most. You never feel that in a game."
Missing Mr. Mohawk? Fear not: Vaas lives on as a reskin mod for Grand Theft Auto IV.
All new content for Far Cry 3 is Now Available for Free on Steam!
The co-op story is far from over. Hoyts privateers have ambushed the four survivors and taken them hostage. Its up to you and your friends to escape an underground prison and find a way off this island of insanity.
This Free High Tides DLC Pack Includes:
- 2 New Co-op Maps: Jailbreak & Redemption - 4 New Co-op Skins: "Warrior-ized" Leonard, Tisha, Callum & Mikhael
OK, who gave Vaas a plane ticket? The demented pirate lord from Far Cry 3 definitely fits right into the lawless streets of Grand Theft Auto IV's Liberty City with rocket launcher in hand and that unhinged smirk on his face, but who would ever think it was a good idea to unleash that psycho on the mainland? Well, modder wapeddell did, actually. And it looks like fun.
Like other custom models of a more critter-like nature, this Vaas mod completely reskins Niko Bellic with a high-quality, bump-mapped texture. This means a heavier hardware load if you're also using graphics overhaul mods or custom cars, but this also means you'll see the most detail you can get out of the game's engine.
Want to see more? The video above shows a particularly shiny Vaas doing what he does best after nonchalantly checking his phone. Grab the mod here, and if you miss the interactions between the mohawked madman and his favorite punching bag, there's also a Jason Brody model by the same author.
On the cusp of an open multiplayer beta for Crytek's maximally lustrous Crysis 3, Nvidia released an early version of its GeForce 313.95 drivers today. The GPU giant claims the drivers boost SLI performance for Crysis 3 by up to 35 percent in addition to other "sizeable SLI and single-GPU performance gains" in games such as Assassin's Creed III and Far Cry 3.
Nvidia says users should expect a 27 percent gain in graphics performance while playing Assassin's Creed III, 19 percent in Civilization V, and 14 percent for both Call of Duty: Black Ops II and DiRT 3. Just Cause 2 improves by 11 percent, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, F1 2012, and Far Cry 3 all improve by 10 percent.
Demonstrating its mastery over orderly green bars, Nvidia also supplied benchmark charts for these games using four of its most recent cards: the GTX 650, 660 Ti, 680, and 690. With the 313.95 drivers, the company declares GTX 690 users can max out all settings in Crysis 3 and still achieve 60 FPS.
Grab the new drivers and check out the charts at Nvidia's website. Also try out the GeForce Experience—which we've talked about at length—to automatically optimize and configure your games based on your PC's hardware.
Rook Island: home of caves, dilapidated buildings, caves, bars that can withstand a barrage of RPG fire directed at them by an angry me after a particularly unsuccessful poker game, caves, temples and caves. Far Cry 3's island is beautiful, to be sure, but it's not the most wildly varied of environments. This collection of early concept art shows a much wider selection of themes and locations. There's the familiar rusted shipwrecks and wooden shacks, but also ideas that would mark a very different tone than the game's final setting.
Theme parks, a golf course, yachts, luxury resorts. Much of the art suggests Rook was once planned to be a tourist retreat for the wealthy. All of the locations are in some state of disrepair, presumably hastily abandoned after the threat of Vaas or whatever alternative antagonist was being considered at the time.
The pictures were made by concept art specialists West Studio. I've embedded some of the best below, but you can see the full collection here.