Feb 27, 2013
The date's been set for the final court-supervised auction of THQ's remaining properties. Those titles not bought in January's fire sale have been divided into lots, with initial bids due in April 1st. Final bids are required by April 15th, then, pending court approval, THQ expects to sell the remaining vestige of its existence by mid-May. *Sniff*
While the tastiest morsels have already been picked away, there's still some meat clinging to the THQ bone. Darksiders, Homeworld and Red Faction are all looking for a new home. In an ideal world, the Homeworld license will be picked up by someone who'll actually use it, and Red Faction will end up somewhere that recognises the brilliance of Guerrilla over the mediocrity of Armageddon.
Here's the full list:
Lot 1: Red Faction
Red Faction Armageddon
Red Faction 2
Red Faction: Guerrilla
Lot 2: Homeworld
Lot 3: MX
MX vs ATV Untamed
MX Superfly featuring Ricky Carmichael
MX vs. ATV Alive Tournament
MX vs. ATV Unleashed
MX vs ATV Reflex
MX vs. ATV: On The Edge
Lot 4: Darksiders
Lot 5: Other Owned Software
All Star Cheer Squad
Elements of Destruction
All Star Cheer Squad 2
All Star Karate
Frontlines: Fuel of War
Baja: Edge of Control
Full Spectrum Warrior 1
Full Spectrum Warrior 2: Ten Hammers
Battle of the Bands
Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights
Big Beach Sports
Big Beach Sports 2
Lock's Quest: Construction Combat
Big Family Games
de Blob 2
Destroy All Humans!
Destroy All Humans! 2
Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed
Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon
Titan Quest: Immortal Throne
Dood's Big Adventure
World of Zoo
Drawn to Life
Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter
Lot 6: Licensed Software
Scripps Spelling Bee (Scripps)
Daniel X (SueJack)
Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Osborne House
Deepak Chopra's Leela (Curious Holdings)
Fancy Nancy: Tea Party Time! (Harper Collins)
Supreme Commander Forged Alliance
The Biggest Loser
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Truth or Lies
Let's Ride Best of Breed
Vampire Legends: Power of Three (dtp)
Marvel Super Hero Squad: Comic Combat
Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet
Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet 2
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune 2
World of Zoo
Nancy Drew: The Hidden Staircase
Worms Battle Islands
Worms Open Warfare
Worms: A Space Oddity
Worms: Open Warfare 2 (Team 17)
Paws & Claws Marine Rescue
Paws & Claws Pampered Pets Resort 3D
You Don't Know Jack (Jellyvision)
Screwjumper (Frozen Codebase)
Wow, that's a mixed bag of Other and Licensed properties.
Wishful thinking time! Who would you like to see bidding on the various series?
After the big auction for its top-shelf intellectual property and game studios last month, the bones of former publishing giant THQ have announced that the company's remaining franchises are now to be sold as part of a "court-approved sales process."
The series up for grabs include Darksiders, Homeworld, Red Faction and Destroy All Humans!
Final bids for the properties are due on April 15. THQ says it has already received over "100 expressions of interest" regarding "various titles" still left in its vaults.
There will be six items in total for sale, four properties available individually and two "bundle" deals, one for internal properties, the other for licensed IP.
Darksiders, Red Faction, Homeworld and MX will be sold separately. Big Beach Sports, Destroy All Humans!, Summoner and "more" are included in the internal bundle, while Marvel Super Hero, Supreme Commander, Worms and "more" make up the licensed pack.
If anyone would like to join me in buying Homeworld, here's the relevant information you need to know:
Interested bidders must provide: 1) complete identification, including the names of corporate officers or those authorized to act on the bidder's behalf; 2) written evidence of authority to enter into the anticipated transaction; and 3) proof of financial ability to perform the contemplated transaction. Only those bidders who meet all three requirements will be provided access to confidential information about each lot of titles once a non-disclosure agreement has been executed. Documentation meeting these three requirements should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We learned recently that the creators of Total War, The Creative Assembly, have scooped Games Workshop's Warhammer fantasy license. This is tip-top news. Warhammer is all about massive battles, Creative Assembly are really, really good at massive battles. It's a great match.
CA have set up a new develop team to produce games for the "multi-title" deal, but what would such a series look like? We're rather fond of Games Workshop's game of little fantasy men doing dice-war on tabletops, so we've rounded up a few features we'd love to see from an proper, epic Warhammer fantasy videogame.
When it comes to depicting clashes between thousands of men, the Total War series has few rivals. The Creative Assembly have steadily increased the detail and fidelity of Total War's skirmishes, and for Rome 2 they've built a massive mo-cap studio to make soldiers' movements more realistic. This makes them a perfect fit for Warhammer, which has always been about massive battles with massive units massively killing each other without remorse or restraint. They've got the tech to push well beyond Mark of Chaos' scraps, let's see it happen.
Warhammer generals wade into battle wielding weapons that have slain demigods, clad in armour that can turn aside cannon fire. Why would an ordinary soldier turn up to fight such a being? Extreme drunkenness, probably. Whatever the scale of the battle, it wouldn't be a Warhammer barney without some absurdly powerful power dressers taking out entire units single-handedly. The Creative Assembly worked some hero units onto Shogun 2's tech trees to mixed reaction from fans. An extension of the loadout functions on show in Shogun 2's profile avatars could be a good way to work in hero customisation. Relic's Dawn of War 2 heroes are a good model for gear systems that keep champions interesting and powerful over a long campaign.
Unit customisation and champions
Painting Warhammer's tiny models takes bloody ages. Tabletop armies are commonly fielded half-daubed in undercoat, shedding flock from poorly layered bases. Putting the time in to field an army that you're invested in really pays off in the long run, though, so let's have some of that. Virtual paint jobs can be applied with the click of a button in a game, and there should be room for players to design their own banners and name units.
I'd like to see Total War's the unit veterancy system leveling up unit champions, picking out heroic individuals from squads as a campaign progresses. If they become accomplished enough, you should have the option to promote them to General, giving players a way to foster new leaders in the heat of battle instead of a tepid menu screen.
This is a greater daemon called the Bloodthirster. He's like a giant cow with wings, an axe and a flair for the dramatic. According to Games Workshop, "the skies turn the colour of blood" when he appears and "the ground erupts with skulls and fountains of gore around it." He's the angry, fighty embodiment of a heavy metal album cover, and he's pretty much the reason you play as the corrupted race of Chaos.
Warhammer stretches familiar fantasy cliches to absurd extremes. That's a big part of the appeal. These monolithic juggernauts of mass destruction aren't just show pieces, though. They embody the personality of the race they represent. The Bloodthirster is a living avatar of the the bestial rage of his kin. The Wood Elves deploy a ten foot tall green hobo because they have spent years consuming Athel Loren's kaleidoscopic selection of mushrooms and don't know what's real anymore. Lizardmen fill a box full of dinosaurs and then bolt it to the back of a giant Triceratops. Creative Assembly strapped cannons to the backs of elephants in Medieval 2, so they're almost there already.
Randomised campaign twists
Rome: Total War worked a game-changing twist into its campaign that kept its twilight turns interesting. CA have experimented with similar ideas in Fall of the Samurai, which required factions to settle down and declare allegiance for nationalist or renegade forces for a final all-out territory scrap. This is good stuff, but it funnels the campaign into a prescribed final scenario. This is useful if you're trying to maintain a degree of historical authenticity, but a fantasy license should allow for boundless outcomes. The Wood Elves should be able to break out of their wood and occupy Brettonia. The Skaven should have the opportunity to consume and spread disease across the entire map, as is their wont. My favourite Total War stories are the ones I made myself in the vast, glorious sandbox that is Empire: Total War (much improved since launch thanks to CA updates and work from the terrific TW modding community). It'd be a treat to have similar opportunities on the Warhammer world map.
Those game-changing campaign twists may still have a part to play, mind. Terrible things can happen quite suddenly in the Warhammer universe. An unnoticed Orc WAAAAGH (an unstoppable angry green mob that grows bigger then more it loots and pillages) could roll in from the mountains and start washing through territories. A necromancer could get his hands on a long-lost item of power and start raising the dead in your homesteads. The incidental social events and scenarios that popped up in FotS could be expanded to deliver exotic challenges with more tangible rewards (claim territory X to gain a heart-seeking sword for your general), introduce new antagonists, and convey more of the exuberant character of the Warhammer universe.
A sense of humour
What has two legs, two tails and a thousand teeth? A LIZARD ON A DINOSAUR. Look, it has a MACE. And the dinosaur is WEARING A HAT. Warhammer is famous for its grimdark portrayals of eternal war, but it's often hilarious. Orcs and Goblins are considered to be the race of choice for generals who enjoy ridiculous, unpredictable battles, but the sense of humour that gives us units like Squigs and the Doom Diver Catapult can be found throughout the Warhammer universe. It's tough to work in wisecracks when you're presenting the brutal historical meat grinders of Rome and Shogun, but the Warhammer license gives Creative Assembly good opportunity to cut loose a little. Lizards riding dinosaurs. LIZARDS RIDING DINOSAURS.
I'm all in favour of a complex meta-game playing out on a strategic world map, but much of what makes Total War's infrastructure management interesting just doesn't fit into the Warhammer setting. If I'm in control of the Empire, I don't care about taxation rates, or ideological niceties like education and wellfare, I want to build the biggest damn steam tank my engineers can think of.
Many of Warhammer's races are just too weird to conform to the economic norms of a historical strategy game. Does an Orc Warboss tax his Goblin workforce? Of course not. If someone asks him for a pay rise, he'll probably just eat them. Do Dark Elves build schools for little Dark Elves? How efficient are they at mining ore? Nobody cares.
The only infrastructure we should be concerned with is the infrastructure of WAR. I want to build better spies to figure out where I should do war next. I want to research new tech to do war better. I want to find out how to breed demonic steeds so that I can do war faster. I want to build sacrificial pits and pledge souls to Nurgle to do war dirtier. Even when you're not waging war, you should be preparing for war, which is why you also need...
Everyone hates everyone else. This is a central tenant of Warhammer fantasy and GW's futuristic edition, Warhammer 40,000. Nobody has any real friends, but uneasy alliances can be wrought, and should. Some races, like Chaos and The Empire, are mortal foes who just can't be in the same room together without someone smiting someone in the name of Sigmar/The Mighty Khorne, but you should be able to tag along with a roughly aligned group to put down threats, and it'd be especially nice if they fought alongside you in battle from time to time.
The alliances should feel painfully fragile. If a spell goes awry and wipes out an allied unit, there's a chance they could turn on you there and then. Imagine if the process of cementing treaties had your generals marching out in front of opposing armies to seal the deal, giving both armies present the opportunity to betray their would-be friends and get in a surprise attack. That'd move those diplomacy screens back into the battlefield, letting you hash out terms in the fraught atmosphere of a military standoff.
Magic that backfires
Magic is extremely powerful in Warhammer. Mages can move scenery around to crush their enemies, speed up entire armies with a word and tear chunks out of the earth with great lashes of elemental energy. There's a twist: Warhammer's spell casters are incompetent.
According to the lore, magic is a wild force that can be directed, but not tamed. A pompous High Elf mage can miss a syllable and send that hill crashing into his own knights. Goblins shamans can get carried away and physically explode, taking out friends and foes nearby. Chaos sorcerers who misjudge a demonic pact can melt into a fleshy puddle or become warped beyond recognition by a possessing spirit. A streak of luck can decimate the battlefield, or gift your foe a great advantage.
There will be a temptation to tone down magic in the name of balance, which is probably wise, but part of me wants to experience the full, chaotic representation of Warhammer's magic system. The wonderful, crunching impacts of Fall of the Samurai's off-map bombardments could be incorporated into some delightful spells.
Alternatively, just make Mordheim
Perhaps there is no grand Total War-esque RTS on the way. Maybe The Creative Assembly are working on something smaller and more manageable with the Warhammer fantasy license. That's okay. It'd be great to see a proper High Elf force dice up the Empire en masse, but Warhammer presents good alternatives for smaller scale conflicts.
I've been a nerd for quite a while, and I reckon that Mordheim is the best thing Games Workshop have ever done. You control a small squad of about a dozen characters as they scour the ruins of a cursed city in search of precious Wyrdstone. Your warriors gain personality traits and terrible injuries as they level up between battles. If your general takes a terrible beating he can become horribly scarred and cause fear among is foes in future fights. Your men can lose arms and legs, or perform courageously enough to be promoted. As you amass a bit of coin, you can start hiring freelance mercenaries with their own strange back stories.
Imagine XCOM, but with much more emergent character development between missions, set in a dark, ruined city full of giant rat men, devout witch hunters and battle-hardened glory hunters wielding flintlock pistols. It was a bit of a pain as a tabletop game, as you needed a ton of scenery to represent the city. A game would do a much better job of representing Mordheim's warped, sinister cityscape and the evolving state of the treasure hunters camped within.
Those are our thoughts. What would you like to see from Total Warhammer?
This preview originally appeared in issue 248 of PC Gamer UK shortly before THQ's implosion. 4A Games has since been acquired by Koch Media, and though the game's release is still anticipated, no definitive release date has been announced since.
In the tunnels beneath post-nuclear Moscow, there is a town called Theater. Like much of what passes for civilisation in Russian sci-fi author Dmitry Glukhovsky’s apocalypse, it’s built into the old subway – the metro system for which 4A Games’ shooter series is named.
Theater’s curving tilework makes it look like it might have had a bit of class, back in the day. The walls could be marble, and although they’re streaked with grime they’re dazzlingly white by the standards of this rust-and-blood dystopia.
I’m watching one of Metro: Last Light’s non-combat sections. The campaign will lead protagonist Artyom through four waystations of this kind, places where the player can trade top-grade ammo for weapons and upgrades, scout out additional plot information, and otherwise absorb 4A’s meticulous rendering of the world in the year 2034.
Artyom passes through Theater’s kitchens, where a panhandling drama critic bemoans the irrelevance of his profession. Not without reason: this is a world where life is measured in bullets and gasmask filters rather than glasses of Prosecco and those little tubs of ice cream with a wooden spoon in the lid.
High art might have been a casualty of nuclear war, but culture survives. Outside the market, there’s an area where an older man performs shadow puppets for an assembled crowd of children. He makes a bird and an elephant, and his audience interprets these as a demon and a nosalis – two of the mutated creatures that prowl Moscow’s unsettled tunnels and blasted surface. The sequence is a touching little meditation on what it’s like to be born after the end of the world. It also illustrates what 4A’s proprietary engine is capable of. Dynamic lighting, audio and physics support everything that 4A are trying to achieve, from wandering around a town packed with refugees to stalking human enemies through the shadows, or engaging in a running battle with a pack of monsters.
A short time later Artyom reaches the theatre itself, where he is joined by Pavel – a returning character from the first game. As they make their way through the crowded auditorium during a burlesque performance, Pavel turns to the player and quips: “well, Stanislavski, you can watch the show if you like.”
A 20th century Russian dramatist is an odd point of reference for a character who makes his living blasting mutated rats the size of ponies, but it’s a neat touchstone for Metro: Last Light itself. 4A Games are based in Ukraine. They’re part of the Eastern European development ecosystem, and share a measure of its enthusiasm for simulation. Metro isn’t concerned with realism in the same way as Arma – once again, rats the size of ponies – but it boasts a naturalistic attention to detail and a vigilant support for the fourth wall. If Call of Duty is a broadway musical, a wide-barrelled cannon loaded with glitter and aimed squarely at the audience’s face, then Metro: Last Light is trying to be something smarter, tougher, and more rewarding – Stanislavski’s Moscow Art Theatre, perhaps.
“It’s this obsessive attention to every minute detail, on each individual thing in the world – the culmination is something that is greater than the sum of its parts,” THQ creative strategist Huw Beynon tells me. “We really want to impress on people playing the game that this isn’t a level. It’s an environment. A place.”
It’s something most apparent when Artyom is facing human opponents. During one mission to escape from an engineering yard patrolled by Reich fascists, idle guards can be seen working out, tending fires, sleeping, singing and talking shop.
Metro: Last Light’s stealth system is deep rather than broad, and grounded in realism. Like its predecessor, the game has a very minimal UI, with no crosshair and no artificial assists such as a mini-map or sight cones for patrolling enemies. Instead, you’ll rely on the equipment in Artyom’s possession: a torch, a lighter, a photosensitive gadget on his watch that glows when he’s standing in light to let you know he’s in danger of being spotted. Noise is important, too: even the game’s hand-pumped pneumatic guns aren’t perfectly silent, and will get you detected if you use them in close proximity to an enemy. The more power you pump into them, the louder they hiss – and this isn’t just a signal to the player that they can stop cranking the handle. It’s a sound, in the world, that a curious guard may respond to.
Throwing knives offer a guaranteed silent kill, as do lethal and non-lethal melee takedowns: but all of these require that you catch your opponent off-guard, and that means traversing the level carefully. Most light sources can be shot out, and electric lamps can be brought down at junction boxes scattered throughout each stage. Doing so will raise suspicion, however. Not only that, but the kind of light matters. Shoot out a lightbulb and you’ll plunge an area into darkness with a tinkling of broken glass. Shoot out an oil lamp and you risk starting a fire that will propagate freely on wood and cardboard, not only illuminating the area more but drawing every guard in the vicinity. These, you need to blow out the old fashioned way – unless a distracting blaze is exactly what you’re looking for.
Sudden darkness will cause guards to activate headlamps and torches, and these can also be shot out by a sufficiently skilled marksman. Kill a guard wearing a miner’s helmet and his light will continue to shine until you disable it, adding an element of risk to each kill and illustrating what a dynamic lighting system can bring to stealthy play.
The AI seems improved from the days of Metro 2033 – I saw guards switch lights back on and respond believably to unusual sounds and the sudden disappearance of colleagues. In open combat, they fell back into a fairly familiar cover-and-flank routine. Without hands-on experimentation I’m unwilling to say outright that Metro 2033’s AI problems are a thing of the past, but in two hours of live demonstration I didn’t see anyone stare blankly as a colleague received a harpoon to the chest or start running laps around sandbags in the middle of a gunfight, so there’s that.
Last Light isn’t a dedicated stealth game, and therefore doesn’t feature the full mechanical complexity of Hitman or Dishonored – you won’t be hiding bodies or hacking turrets or approaching levels from a dozen possible angles. But its focus on simple details – the fact that it lacks typical stealth game accoutrements like maps and a HUD – give it a naturalism that’s appealing in its own right. Last Light is more about lots of small, interesting interactions with the world, rather than making and executing grand plans.
Those small interactions are the key to the game’s loftier ambitions. Metro 2033’s morality system will return with alterations that THQ and 4A aren’t yet willing to disclose – indeed, Beynon asks that the press give away as little as possible about the specific ways in which the game will track and respond to the choices that the player makes in the game. Metro 2033 undersold its morality system to the extent that many players had no idea it was there, but Beynon argues that ‘gamifying’ ethics with clear-cut ‘choose your alignment’ moments undermine the whole concept.
This also applies to anyone who played through the first game with a guide in order to ‘beat’ the morality system. “They’ve missed the point entirely,” Beynon says. “It’s almost a hilarious joke. It’s like following a recipe without understanding what it is that you’re making.”
“The things that take place in the environment should be consistent and believable,” Beynon continues. “As you introduce that, people will think about the way they perceive the game-world that they’ve been asked to play in. I think we do a really good job of humanising all of the people that you fight against.”
The hope is that by convincing the player of the verisimilitude of the world, the decisions they make will be more genuine – and more meaningful – than those offered by a traditional RPG.
The idea of providing room for more satisfying choices has also informed Metro’s weapon system, although in a different way. Where in Metro 2033 the player was limited to three weapons within different categories – sidearms, primary weapons, and secondary special weapons – in Last Light you will be free to mix and match any trio of guns you like. Extensive customisation also frees you to swap out scopes, extended clips, silencers and so on, at the cost of valuable pre-war ammunition that doubles as currency. If you want to tool Artyom out for sniping and stealth, that’s up to you: alternatively, you might place your hopes in automatic shotguns and assault rifles.
“You make your choice and you deal with the consequences,” Beynon says. “If you want to, you can play it very safe throughout the game – that’s fine, that might be the optimal way to play it. But you might not get to experiment with things that are really fun.”
An extraordinary amount of effort has gone into modelling the weapons themselves. Spent casings clink together dynamically as they tumble from a revolver during a reload, a detail demonstrated to me by slowing game-time down to a fraction of its regular speed. Viewing the game this way, it’s also possible to pick out the way a spring pushes each new ball-bearing into the chamber of Artyom’s pneumatic rifle between shots, and admire the lever mechanism that pulls the next shell into position on a jury-rigged automatic shotgun. Last Light’s makeshift weapons are the brainchild of 4A creative director Andrew ‘Prof’ Prokhorov, whose background in aeronautical simulation gives him the technical expertise to design new firearms that would actually work.
“There’s no gamification of the devices that you have,” Beynon says. “That’s a contributing factor – if you want to see how much battery you have in your torch, you have to bring up the charger – a physical thing that sits in your hands. The cumulative effect of that detail builds the sense of the world.”
It’s also what makes Last Light a contender as a horror game. During another sequence, Artyom drives a tram – made up like a dragster, and covered in lights – through an abandoned area of the subway. The lights keep photosensitive spider monsters at bay (sorry about those, arachnophobes), but if you choose you can stop the car at any point to get out and explore side passages for supplies and secrets. Dynamic lightning in this context means something very different.
Finding a junction box and switching on all the lights in a section is now a huge source of relief, tempered by the sound of a hive full of spider monsters screeching and thrashing in response. It feels like a totally different game to the one where a man darted between campfires, unscrewing bulbs and slitting throats – but it’s based on the same mechanics, and it’s part of a contiguous experience.
It’s easier than ever to think of ‘first-person shooter’ as an outdated term. The temptation is to break it down into parts – to map out a landscape with your deathmatch blasters over here and your thinking man’s sneak-’em-ups over there, your Portal-style spatial puzzlers nestling a healthy distance from DayZ’s wide-open survival horror. The problem with this approach is that it downplays the unifying effect that the first-person perspective has: the way that lots of divergent experiences can be made to feel like part of a continuous whole. Game mechanics don’t get much simpler or more relatable than ‘looking and doing’.
Metro: Last Light is setting out to be many things: realistic shooter, stealth sim, cinematic narrative experience, atmospheric exploration game. Having been shown an extended chunk, though, I don’t feel it’s quite right to describe it as a hybrid. Instead, the impression I get is of a first-person shooter of an older sort – a linear game with the mechanical variety to support many different approaches and experiences, and the design sense and eye for detail to sustain dramatic shifts in tone, from frantic monster horror to blistering military shooter. It’s an old model, in some ways, but a proven one – just ask Half-Life 2.
Whether or not the game can perform to those high standards remains to be seen: but it has something of that old-school sensibility. It’s a show that is very much worth stopping to watch.
Feb 5, 2013
Darksiders developer Vigil Games wasn't sold at last month's auction of THQ's assets. That was the end of Vigil, but not its staff: rather than buying Vigil whole, Crytek left it on the auction block and later hired many of its laid-off employees to form Crytek USA in Austin. Crytek's new ex-Vigil staffed studio, however, won't be making Darksiders III. In an interview with VentureBeat, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli explained that Crytek wanted the people, but not the product.
"We had chosen Austin as the destination for , and we needed a lean and core team of experts to run the studio. At the same time, we didn't want to continue with Darksiders III, since that doesn't fit with our strategy," said Yerli.
"So when I heard that , I decided on Saturday morning to fly out to meet with them to see if the team would be interested to join our mission, which is significantly different than what this team has done before."
Over the course of a few days, Vigil Games closed and Crytek USA opened, and the 30 to 40 member staff will now be starting fresh.
“It’s not like we set the team on a specific game concept,” said Yerli. “They’re actually going to work on what David and the team identifies as what they want to do. Right now, they just know what the strategy of Crytek is and the framework we need to satisfy, but none of that drives what the game is about.”
Meanwhile, the rights to Darksiders remain unsold. Read more about the rapid formation of Crytek USA on VentureBeat.
Jan 30, 2013
PC Gamer - PC Gamer
This week, Chris and Toms Senior and Francis talk Teleglitch, SimCity, Crysis 3 multiplayer and more. Includes our thoughts on the troubles at Gas Powered Games, Jon Blow's next game, and your
questions from Twitter.
You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or download the MP3 directly. The YouTube version will be going up early next week as I've, er, got a train to catch.
Follow PC Gamer UK on Twitter to be informed when we're putting the call out for questions. Here are our individual accounts:
Chris - @cthursten
Tom F - @pentadact
Tom S - @pcgludo
Gas Powered Games' Wildman Kickstarter and Matt Barton's interview with Chris Taylor.
Our collected thoughts on Crysis 3 multiplayer, plus The Hidden: Source mod.
/r/GuildWarsDyeJob, the Guild Wars 2 dress-up subreddit that Chris is weirdly excited about.
The Dota 2 character art guide.
The nascent Twitter feed for the Absolute Bedlam Dota 2 tournament.
Try a round or two of Cheese or Font.
Jan 29, 2013
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - email@example.com (Nathan Grayson)
Every dark cloud has a silver lining. It’s a delightfully optimistic statement, though in truth, it’s not always, well, true. (Note: I mean this in the metaphorical sense. I don’t claim to be an expert on clouds’ relative silver content, as I still believe they’re made of cotton candy.) Case in point: at first, it sure seemed like Darksiders dev Vigil Games would be getting some of said rain in its gothic Death mascara while everyone else found new homes in the wake of THQ’s collapse. But now, that dark cloud within a silver-lined dark cloud has found a different silver lining. On the wings of nanosuit-clad angels, Crytek’s descended to save the day. Or, well, most of it, anyway.
Jan 28, 2013
Surprisingly, blood suckers aren't as common in video games as you might expect. They might appear as a generic type of enemy, and of course there are a few of them in the Castlevania series. We collected some of these vampires, paying attention to leave out those who like to carry people on their backs.
Bodhi (Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows Of Amn)
This former elf is the scariest thing ever created that has anything to do with elves. Geez those random entries!
Demitri Maximoff (DarkStalkers: The Night Warriors)
Probably the only vampire in the world that looks like Phoenix Wright on steroids.
Vamp (Metal Gear Solid series)
Even if he is not a real one, he's got all the abilities—and the right to be on this list as well.
source: Raiden vs Vamp in Metal Gear Solid 4
Vincent Valentine (Final Fantasy VII)
Just as Vamp, Vincent is rather a result of an experiment than a natural born vampire, but the similarities are quite obvious.
Rachel Alucard (BlazBlue series)
Vorador (Legacy Of Kain series)
The main characers Kain or Raziel should have been the obvious choices, but Vorador—who also has a major role—looks just so much cooler.
source: Legacy Of Kain Wiki
Alucard and Dracula (Castlevania series)
At least these legendary guys bring back something from the classic Dracula look.
Jeanette Voerman (Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines)
Both Vampire games—Redemption and Bloodlines—are full of vampires (sounds incredible, right?) but the only possible pick is this memorable NPC from the second game.
source: White Wolf Wiki
Jericho Cross (Darkwatch)
The weird western-steampunk hybrid style, mixed with classic vampire lore made this character (and the game!) really exciting.
source: Capcom Database
One of those female vampires that look badass rather than cute—and there's absolutely no problem with that.
source: BloodRayne Wiki
You should submit your picks with visual support in the comments!
Jan 25, 2013
Darksiders 2 may not have had the care and attention we like to see of a PC port, but that didn't hold back the game's tough, rewarding combat from making the game an overall enjoyable experience. So when the details of THQ's auction were revealed, it was a surprise to see that no-one had bid for Vigil. What gives?
As it turns out, the lack of interest shown in Vigil may have had nothing to do with the quality of the studio, as much as the timing of the sale. Speaking to Game Informer, THQ's president Jason Rubin touched on the difficulties with finding a home for Vigil. "Having just finished a product, Vigil was farthest from release of their next game, and we were not able to garner any interest from buyers, despite a herculean effort. Additionally, they were working on a new IP, which meant even more risk for a buyer."
Essentially, many of the bidders weren't just buying up a development studio, but also their games which, for the most part, were well into development. Relic were preparing for Company of Heroes 2's launch and Volition were well into development on the next Saints Row. Darksiders 2 released at the end of last August, giving the team less time to gear up and launch into development of their next project.
That project was codenamed Crawler, and it sounds like the team were extremely excited about the direction it was heading. In an emotional post to NeoGAF, made from an empty studio, Vigil's lead combat designer Ben Cureton wrote, "I knew, without a shadow of the doubt, that the project we were working on (Codenamed: Crawler) was going to blow people away. In fact, it DID blow people away. We did, in TWO months, what many companies haven't done in a year. The pride of knowing that no one was doing anything like us was so satisfying, it kept us coming to work and giving 100% every single day, even through the dark times."
Unfortunately funding a studio's development, marketing and staff costs for an untested new IP appears to be a risk that bidders involved in the THQ auction found too great. The situation likely wasn't helped by Darksider's 2 financial performance, which THQ's sales projections, taken from the first day motions, put at a loss.
The studio may have closed, but the Darksiders property, along with Vigil's staff, have attracted some interest. Platinum Games' JP Kellams tweeted at Dearksiders 2's lead designer, asking him, and other staff members, to get in touch if they were interested in working with the Bayonetta developer. And Platinum's head Atsushi Inaba also tweeted his interest in picking up the franchise at the upcoming auction, saying (translated by Kotaku), "In THQ's studio and IP selling off auction, Darksiders is unsold? wanna buy it...on the cheap..."
Here's hoping that both Darksiders and the studio's staff quickly find a home.
Thanks to Eurogamer for the Platinum Games info, and to Distressed Debt Investing's Hunter for the analysis of THQ's first day motions.