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Thomas Was Alone

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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Thomas Was Alone updated with free Benjamin’s Flight episode">TWA







At this point, we should all be used to Steam's auto-updating. Even so, it can be a little unsettling when it happens to a game about emerging autonomous AI. Quadrilateral platformer Thomas Was Alone has received just such an update, supposedly adding Benjamin's Flight a free chapter of levels originally exclusive to the game's Playstation release. At least, that's what creator Mike Bithell claims it adds. My advice? Keep an eye out for rogue squares.



"Benjamin's Flight takes place before the events of Thomas Was Alone," Bithell writes in a press release, "and tells the story of the first AI to discover something very dangerous: Hope. Armed with a new jetpack ability, he'll go hunting for the strange glowing light he's long admired from afar."



With the update, Steam owners get a new set of jetpack-designed levels, new songs, and a new narration about Benjamin and his high-flying dreams. It's a nice bonus for owners of the game assuming it doesn't unleash sentient and somewhat charming artificial intelligence.



Mike Bithell is currently working on stealth game Volume. For more on that, check out Chris's preview.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

When I last spoke to Mike Bithell, we were in the caf at the National Media Museum in Bradford. He had just delivered a talk about his upcoming Virtual Robin Hood game, Volume, but we found time to discuss Thomas Was Alone as well. Bithell said – and I agree – “I thought I was writing a competent story with an amazing platform game. It turned out it was the other way around!” Presumably, the previously Playstation-only prequel episode, now available on Windows and Mac (Linux build soon), elevates plot over platforming. A cursory examination reveals a possible interpretation of the Icarus myth, with an AI in place of daddy Daedalus and a jetpack in place of waxy wings.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Mike Bithell’s stealth game, Volume, looks like a very different prospect to Thomas Was Alone, even if there might be some similarities in the audio department. A retelling of the Robin Hood story, Volume takes place in a Britain laced with political dissent, rebellion and fancy volumetric display devices. Upon discovering such a device, Robert Locksley sets out to livestream heists and infiltrations, teaching the poor to steal from the rich rather than doing the job himself. I sat down with Mr Bithell at the Bradford Animation Festival to talk about the game, politics, ethics, Mini Coopers and Russell Brand.>

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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Volume voice actors announced, retells the legend of Robin Hood">volume







A recent trailer for Volume has revealed that author, actor, and Thomas Was Alone narrator Danny Wallace will lend his voice to the game’s companion AI. YouTuber Charlie McDonnell will play the role of Robin Hood. Yes, that Robin Hood.



Volume will be a retelling of Robin Hood set in the near future. According to Eurogamer, Robert Locksley (better known as Robin Hood) finds a volume, a simulation tool that’s used to train a military coup’s forces. Locksley then uses the volume’s AI to “broadcast simulations of robbery against England's wealthiest, becoming the world's first crime let's player.”



I encourage anyone who hasn’t heard of Volume to check out designer Mike Bithell’s video demonstration, which should give you a better idea of what Volume actually is.



Volume’s set to come out sometime in 2014 on the PlayStation 4 with PC and Mac versions a month later.
Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 66% on Thomas Was Alone!*

Thomas Was Alone, and then, Well, he Wasn't.

Thomas Was Alone tells the story of the world's first sentient AIs, and how they worked together to, well, not escape: Escape is a strong word. 'Emerge' might be better. 'Emerge' has an air of importance about it, while keeping the myriad plot twists and superhero origin stories you'll discover under wraps. We didn't even mention the bouncing. That'd be overkill.

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Volume is a stealth game from the creator of Thomas Was Alone">Volume thumb







The freshly announced Volume is being made by Mike Bithell, creator of the quadrilateral platformer Thomas Was Alone. Which means I'm fighting the urge point at one of the abstract red cuboids emerging from the ground and going "lol, Thomas in 3D!" I'll continue to struggle against that base temptation, because Volume looks to be an intriguing stealth distract-'em-up with an emphasis on making noise.



To the Youtubatrons!







Some brief story info has been posted to the Volume website.



" Does not kill. That would be far too easy. Instead, he commits his crimes through stealth. He sneaks, he distracts, he avoids. He is never seen, and seldom heard. As he grows in popularity and notoriety, so will his inventory. Blackjacks, bugles, thunderclaps and veils are just some of the tools at 's disposal."



The game's site notes that Volume will release with "hundreds of challenging and exciting environments," but goes on to promise that every area can be remixed and expanded. "The community are free to take the game in any direction they want, even releasing their own takes on the core levels. This is a game which will evolve, warp and grow as players make their mark on 's legend."



A livestream of the game is planned tonight at 9pm BST, over on Bithell's Twitch channel. Alternatively, you can see a ten minute demonstration below.







Volume is set to release in 2014. No platforms have been announced.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Cara Ellison)

“Has this game just come out?” maker of Thomas Was Alone Mike Bithell asks of Pretentious Game 3. “Because I’ve been getting emails all day, ‘They’re taking the piss out of you hurr hurr hurr’.”

Bari of Keybol games has just released the final part of a trilogy of games about a square, and labelled them all emphatically pretentious. Pretentious Game 3 is a game starring a cute little platforming square, just like in Thomas Was Alone. One of the enquiring, slightly jibing tweets to Mike Bithell about it was mine this morning, wondering if Bari was having a little joke at Mike’s expense. It turns out that there was just some sort of trend in games with a square in them last year, and between them, Bari and Mike had created some sort of New Square Wave of 2012, where they both were making games simultaneously about mobile squares with delusions of grandeur. I spoke to them both to find out exactly how pretentious they both are. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

I wish people took me seriously every time *I* put on a chicken mask.

You know, I never really thought about it before, but I think Proteus and Hotline Miami are videogame inverses. One’s about languidly strolling around a neon-bubblegum dreamscape paradise while the other’s about blink-and-you’ll-be-on-the-receiving-end-of-it murder in an entirely different kind of neon-bubblegum dreamscape “paradise”. They are one anther’s bizarro twin, eternally opposed but forever intertwined. Also, they’re in the latest Humble Indie Bundle together, which is neat. And neater still? Probably the fact that they’re joined by Little Inferno, Awesomenauts, Capsized, Thomas Was Alone, and Dear Esther. Yeah, eight is pretty great. Or something.

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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Humble Indie Bundle 8 discounts Hotline Miami, Awesomenauts, Dear Esther, and more">humblebundle8







Summer has always been a bit of a lull when it comes to video game releases. It’s the time of year where we hear more about the upcoming fall releases rather than actually, you know, playing games. Luckily, we have the Humble Indie Bundle 8 to keep boredom, UV rays, and those treacherous, shark-filled oceans at bay.



The Humble Indie Bundle traditionally features recent indie darlings for the low, low price of “whatever the hell you want”, and this year is no exception. No matter what you pay, you’ll get access to Little Inferno, Awesomenauts, Capsized, Thomas Was Alone, Dear Esther and their soundtracks (and Steam keys if throw in a dollar or more). Linux users should be happy to know that the Linux versions of these games are also debuting with the bundle.



Forking over more than the average purchase price (a modest $5.72 as of this writing) will net you Hotline Miami and Proteus plus its soundtrack. Yes, you might be saving up for the pricey GTX 780 that your annoying friend already has, but maybe you could skip eating today?



Like always, you can choose where your money goes, rationing out which developers and charities get your hard-earned bitcoins. You have a full two weeks to decide who gets what while stocking up on harpoons for the inevitable shark invasion.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to What does Nintendo’s claiming of Let’s Play videos mean for us PC gamers?">Thomas Was Alone







By now you may've heard the ruckus emanating from the console community. Zack Scott, prominent YouTube personality and uploader of Let's Play videos, revealed that Nintendo had "claimed ownership" of his Nintendo gameplay demonstrations—meaning, basically, that ad revenue from the videos would go to Nintendo rather than Scott himself. It wasn't an isolated incident; numerous other YouTubers found their videos had also been claimed by the heavyweight publisher.



Nintendo's started a possible movement among publishers; Markus "Notch" Persson of Minecraft fame has revealed that he, too, was approached by YouTube and offered a cut of all Minecraft videos' revenue.



"It was tempting," said Persson on Twitter. "We almost did it."



Had the Minecraft team gone through with the deal, what then? Well, not only would the income of Let's Play YouTubers be threatened, but there's an argument for the exposure that indie developers would lose as well if major YouTubers closed up shop.



Mike Bithell, developer of Thomas Was Alone, says that it was a Total Biscuit video that propelled his game to success.



" Thomas sold eight times more units than on launch day," he recounts frankly in a piece for Develop Online. "I was outselling Assassin's Creed 3 on Steam."



"Thomas Was Alone would not have been a hit without YouTube. Without the frequent infringement of my copyright, the astonishingly aggressive use of my intellectual property and oftentimes presumptuous use of work comprising years of my life, I wouldn't be sat right now, at home, taking a break from my work as a full time indie developer."



So it's not just about massive publishers who can probably live without the money earned by YouTubers—in the end, widespread adoption of YouTube claiming could hurt smaller developers as well. Let's Play videos often help us decide whether to buy a game or not, and they can introduce us to wonderful smaller projects and mods as well.



Zack Scott's suspended his playthroughs of Nintendo games, and many other YouTubers are following suit. In the meantime, indie developers continue to lobby for the positive effects that Let's Plays have on their success. One thing's for sure: game publishers can try as they like to take away our gameplay videos, but they'll never take away our enjoyment of cats with pineapples.
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