Mar 25, 2013
Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
You may not have guessed it, from how many Arcane Novas and Steam Lightning Storms were cast in the direction of other players, but wacky action-RPG Magicka was originally a co-op game. PvP arenas were added free DLC to formalise the wizard-on-wizard violence, and the next game goes even further. Announced today by publisher Paradox, Magicka: Wizard Wars is a purely PvP affair, boasting 4v4 magic man action.
Magicka, if you were unfortunate or foolish enough to miss the original, has the most wonderful and chaotic spellcasting system. You combine up to five of the eight elements--from Earth and Life to Fire and Shield--into a single spell. This can be cast on yourself, on your weapon to imbue it with power, or tossed around in a number of ways. With so many combinations, you can get cast unusual things like a Chilly Exploding Electric Ice Wall or Healing Mines. Which deal as much damage or healing to friends as to enemies. Things go wrong, quickly, often, and unexpectedly.
This zany system will of course remain in Wizard Wars, which Paradox says will result in "short rounds and unpredictable strategies." More importantly, you'll have a persistent customizable wizard, with hundreds of items to choose from. No word yet on when it'll launch.
Magicka creator Arrowhead is not making Wizard Wars, but rather Paradox's own Paradox North studio. Arrowhead's most recent work was multiplayer side-on shooter The Showdown Effect.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
Paradox Interactive announced its line-up for the Game Developers Conference in March, and among the games listed is a new multiplayer combat game from Arrowhead Game Studios. The project from the Magicka team is code-named Project JFK, but is otherwise being kept mostly under wraps for the time being.
The teaser announcement promises "breakneck-paced multiplayer combat with a focus on killing your friends and looking cool doing it." Whatever Project JFK is, it's being developed alongside further expansions to Magicka, so Arrowhead must be busy.
Paradox also teased two other unannounced projects. Project Revenge from Critical Studio is described as "death trap for heroes and children." Lovely. And Project Silverado from Zeal Game Studio combines elements from RTS, shooters, tabletop war-games, in a sci-fi setting. Paradox will also showcase the previously announced games, A Game of Dwarves and War of the Roses.
GDC 2012 will take place March 5-9 in San Francisco.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
Arrowhead Game Studios' Magicka has lampooned Vietnam and Cthulu without receiving the wrath of the elder gods or EA lawyers. Today Paradox Interactive announced another expansion, The Other Side of the Coin, which gives a firm ribbing to fantasy cliches.
You'll be put in the shoes of Alucard the Vampire and his necromancer followers as they disrupt Vlad's proposed peace between humans, dwarves, and elves. The Other Side of the Coin (or TOSOTC for short) uses the same objective-based progression as Vietnam, and adds a new challenge map for the necromancers. The necromancer can also be used in PvP, and the announcement promises a new environment with distinctive Elven architecture.
It will only cost $3.99, but you'll have to wait a while. The expansion isn't due until late autumn.
The Stars are Left adds several sinister new campaign missions to Magicka, complete with tentacled Lovecraftian bosses, new enemies and new outfits. The pack also comes with a couple of challenge maps and there's a new trailer, which may be the first H. P. Lovecraft/film noir comedy crossover film ever made. Hopefully it's not the last. The Stars are Left is available now for £3.99 / $5.99 on Steam and Gamersate.
Nov 18, 2011
‘Tis a grand weekend for indie gaming on Steam. In addition to the Super Meat Boy Pack, bonkers co-op RPG Magicka is free until 9pm on Sunday, and, yes, developers Arrowhead Game Studios have fixed most of the bugs. There’s also a wizard’s sleeve worth of offers on Steam, including Magicka itself for £1.99, a four-pack for you and three chums for £5.99, and the Magicka Collection - including all DLC - for £4.24. Magic!
Just go here to download it.
Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
Magicka has cast a mighty spell, summoning not only an update with heaps of tech improvements and fixes, but also a new trailer for its eerie upcoming Lovecraftian downloadable expansion 'The Stars Are Left.'
The patch, already out through Steam, brings checkpoints remembered between play sessions, a fancier particle system, stuttering fixes, server browser improvements, and heaps more.
Steam has the full changelog, but here are the highlights:
- Fairy familiar added, revives characters after death occurs in solo campaign
- Checkpoints now save progress even if game is quit
- Chapter select added to replay previously played chapters
- Several improvements to the server browser
- Physics and collision detection improved - less falling through the floor
- Frame rate stuttering - should be less noticeable for some users
- Extended particle system with particle lights
- Improved light performance
- Several minor bug fixes, game balance, and tweaks
And now, witness the unspeakable horrors of The Stars Are Left. It'll rise from the depths of the space, time, and madness this winter, with new enemies, levels, magicka, items, and more. As with the Vietnam expansion, only the player hosting will need to have bought it.
Oct 27, 2011
Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
Eldritch horrors from beyond the stars are to invade the cheery world of Magicka in 'The Stars Are Left,' a downloadable content campaign inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, announced today by publisher Paradox.
The multi-level adventure will bring seven Lovecraftian enemies to smash, two new bosses to conquer, extra spells to zap them all with, two challenge maps, and new items and robes to murder your co-op partners over. "Also, we make fun of Minecraft this time," Paradox notes.
Magicka: The Stars Are Left is due to launch this winter. There's no word on how much it'll cost but, as with previous Magicka DLC, only the game host will need to own it for everyone to play.
While the horrors developer Arrowhead intends to unleash upon us are doubtless unspeakable, you can get a peek at them in the first screenshots and announcement trailer:
And as the saying goes, if you can remember it without jerking erect and screeching "Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fhtagn!" in an unearthly voice, then you weren't really there.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
Paradox Interactive, publisher of games like Magicka and Mount and Blade, says it no longer needs retail support. "Retail sales are like a bonus for now," Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox told PC Gamer, revealing that 90% of the company's revenue now comes through digital distribution sales. "We donât really need retailers any more."
Obviously, digital distribution bypasses many of the hurdles that retail releases require: there are no discs to print, no boxes to ship, and having to fight for coveted shelf space. However, Wester suggests that digital distribution affords game creators greater creative freedom. "People complain to publishers that there are only sequels on the market, but thatâs because retailers want to see sequels, because they can do their chart diagrams for how things sell and things like that," he added. "So one of the things preventing more creative gaming has been the retail challenge."
It's unlikely that a game like Magicka, a quirky co-op adventure game, would have found success in a market largely determined by retail. It has gone on to sell more than 600,000 copies since release. It later received a tongue-in-cheek expansion pack, "Vietnam."
If you read Arrowhead Game's Magicka dev diary right here on PCGamer.com yesterday, you'll know that the free PvP is out now. However, you might have have missed the Tarantino inspired trailer. It shows just one way in which wizards can fall out. The other is just to play Magicka's story mode, where friendly fire kills almost as many wizards as the hordes of enemies you're trying to obliterate.
The PvP mode comes with free two arenas, the Training Ground and the Havindir Arena. Each can host scraps with three different rule-sets. Classic deathmatch is a fiery free-for-all mode in which the last wizard standing wins. Brawl mode lets you form teams, but limits each player to a set number of lives. Krietor mode unlocks more powerful spells as the round progresses, and is named after the modder who invented it.
Three other maps can also be bought on Steam. The Frozen Lake (guess where that's set) combines unsure footing with a high probability of drowning to create a recipe for Magicka comedy, while The Watchtower map stages a battle at the top of a huge tower. To quote the Steam blurb, "The absense of a railing on a mountaintop ruin provides new environmental hazzard." These maps cost £1.50 / $1.99 each.
The third map is called Final Frontier, and has an extremely familiar sci-fi setting. It comes with an extra wizard robe, a "deadly duel staff" and boasts "fantastic quality props" for "Increased nerd factor." For maximum nerd factor, play this in the background while you fight. The Final Frontier is a little more substantial, thanks to the additional items, so that's priced at £1.99 / $2.99.
There's also a new Party Robes pack that adds three new wizard outfits, designed to improve your wizards' survival rate in co-op. The tank robe turns your wizard into an armoured powerhouse, the rogue robe can cloak on the battlefield and the support robe buffs the spellcasting power of those around the wearer - surely not a good robe to wear to a PvP fight.
As with all Magicka DLC, it's possible to jump into the hosts paid-for maps even if you don't own them yourself. The DLC is also available to buy on Direct2Drive, Impulse, Green Man Gaming and more, you can get the full list here. If you want to get an edge in PvP, check out our pick of Magicka's best spells.
Jun 12, 2011
A helicopter lands in a jungle glade and four wizards jump out. A vampire in aviator shades leans out of the chopper: “Oogle blurble barble ’Nam!” he says. The wizards, wearing helmets and flack jackets over their robes, nod to each other and charge off into the jungle. Magicka: Vietnam’s first moments set the scene nicely for the madness to come.
Magicka’s first expansion throws your pint sized combat-mages into a fantastical version of the Vietnam War, in which the Vietcong are replaced by gun-toting goblins, and the US forces by a team of one to four psychotic wizards. There’s a rescue mission and a survival arena to battle through, both of which ask the important question: what’s best, magic, or bullets?
It’s a trick question. The answer is napalm. As well as fresh enemies and soggy jungle environments, there are also new weapons, including machineguns and rocket launchers, but the real star of the show is the napalm air strike. Casting this ‘spell’ causes a US bomber jet to fly across the screen, leaving a streak of white-hot death in its wake.
Here’s why it’s great. To cast spells in Magicka, you summon elemental orbs, then combine them for use on yourself or your foes. Different combinations of orbs cast different spells. There’s no mana bar, or any restriction on the number of spells you can throw out. You can call in air strikes as fast as you can type.
Imagine, then, four wizards each calling in a bombing run every minute or so, throwing up protective shields and frantically healing between bombardments as an endless supply of goblins charge out of the jungle. These insane defences with friends on Magicka: Vietnam’s survival map are easily the best part of the expansion.
The rescue mission is more staid. You’re dropped into a jungle and instructed to save a number of prisoners of war. Side objectives ask you to destroy ammo dumps and topple radio towers, but these extra objectives never force you to veer too far from a narrow path. Armed goblins and the occasional ogre with a minigun try to stop you. Often by standing slightly off screen and shooting you, which is especially infuriating given how powerful the new guns are.
It takes about 40 minutes to play and is extremely difficult, especially if you’re trying to run it solo.
Play with friends, and it’s possible to overcome the difficulty spike and enjoy the game’s terrific sense of humour. The deliberately mangled speech and the constant war movie references are a recipe for good comedy. When combined with the new toys and the endless survival map, Magicka fans who play often with friends will be happy with the £3.49 price tag. If you were expecting to play through alone, however, you should give this one a miss.