PC Gamer
A crude metaphor for the PC gaming community
A crude metaphor for the PC gaming community

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?
PC Gamer
Uplay SimCity


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?
PC Gamer
Far Cry 3 Vaas thumb


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.
PC Gamer
Far Cry 3 Vaas thumb


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.
PC Gamer
Assassin's Creed


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.
PC Gamer
vader 2


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.

You can read the rest of the interview at IGN.
Product Update - Valve
All new content for Far Cry 3 is Now Available for Free on Steam!

The co-op story is far from over. Hoyt’s privateers have ambushed the four survivors and taken them hostage. It’s 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

PC Gamer
Grand Theft Auto IV Vaas mod


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.

Thanks, PCGamesN.
PC Gamer
Crysis 3 Ceph-thrower


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.
PC Gamer
Far Cry 3 concept thumb


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.

Thanks, Kotaku.

















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