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

I've got a job again too, right guys? Right? [sound of crickets, also a crow]

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.

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

Largely unrelated to this image, but still relevant: If Dawn of War 3 never happens as a result of this sale, someone dies.

OK, hold onto the floppier parts of your brain, because this is about to get a bit complicated. So remember how THQ went bankrupt and fell into bed with “stalking horse bidder” Clearlake Capital? Well, the primary intent of all that was to keep THQ in one piece while dealing with that nasty little “having basically no money” thing, but – at the 11th hour – there was a twist. Creditors decided THQ’s all-or-nothing sales approach wasn’t fair to them (it’d probably pull in less money, after all), and a US bankruptcy court judge agreed. So now THQ’s gone from monolithic one-gulp meal to easily chopped up buffet, and rumor has it that a number of major players are interested in various series, games, and franchises.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Er, I suppose there’s some uncertainty that Metro: Last Light might actually be released, but for now let’s proceed on the basis that THQ have managed to save themselves from the moneyan apocalypse.

Last Light, from an hour or so I spent watching real-time play recently, appears to be almost a do-over of the ambitious but awkward Metro 2033 rather than a traditional sequel. It’s rescuing and remixing the stuff that worked but, as far as I can tell, without devolving into a shiny Call of Dudebro affair. That critical switching between indoor and outdoor action and gun-free survivor settlements remains, as does the strange bullets-as-currency system. It’s much more like 2033 than I’d presumed, I’m relived to find, glossier though it may be. (more…)

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

Company of Heroes 2 is coming along marvelously, but let’s be honest here: it’s not exactly the departure one might expect from the company of game developers that made the brilliantly daring leap from Dawn of War 1 to Dawn of War 2. Instead, we’re getting more of what we loved, but with small tweaks, a heaping mountain of snow, and the sobering realization that it’s apparently not> a good idea to joyride multi-ton tanks across nearly opaque films of ice. During an interview with RPS, however, game director Quinn Duffy said that Company of Heroes definitely isn’t stuck in a tiny, World-War-II-shaped box. In the future, he excitedly explained, the series could potentially go “anywhere.”

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Last week I got to sit down and make my hands do things in Relic’s next strategy game, the Eastern Front-set World War II war of men that is Company of Heroes 2. While previously we’ve been shown frozen landscapes with dramatic new snow effects, this time I got thrown into the mud.>

I was in a war, you know. A big war, with explosions and tanks and dug-outs and men with flamethrowers and men with mortars and men with machine guns and men with rocket-propelled grenades. It was awful. So I’m only too happy to go back to it.

In my couple of hours with Company of Heroes 2, I swiftly established that it is very much the sequel to Company of Heroes. Perhaps more so than I’d been expecting, given the action-RPG stylings of Dawn of War 2 was a sharp turn to the left from Dawn of War 1′s tried and tested real-time strategising. Company of Heroes is Real War though, so a careful sticking to strategic roots is to be expected.

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

Once, I thought there was at least some cold, profit-maximizing business precision that guided whatever awfulness-seeking missile explodes games into not-great movies, but now I’m not even sure of that anymore. I mean, don’t get me wrong: Company of Heroes is a work of absolute RTS brilliance, but it’s not exactly a household name. And yeah, much as I think my> most brilliant tactical masterpieces – for instance, a nuanced little number I like to call TANKS EVERYWHERE – are worth their own movie adaptations, the game’s brand of top-down contemplaction doesn’t exactly make for the best big screen material. Then again, this one’s direct-to-DVD, so I guess that solves that. But obviously, making the leap to a new medium required Company of Heroes to take some liberties. For instance, when I say “making the leap,” I mean that literally. Across the top of a train. Like Indiana Jones. See for yourself after the break.

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

Update: I got in touch with the Humble Bundle folks to find out more about how this out-of-nowhere partnership came about. See what they had to say after the break.

Original: I was incredibly tempted to begin this post with a joke about how the charity slider on this Humble Bundle is redundant, because THQ is already basically a charity. That would be mean, though, so I opted to– oops, I already did it. Hm. Shame backspace was never invented. Anyway, the latest bundle of densely packaged humility puts the spotlight on a decidedly non-indie THQ, but oh well. Indie’s a pretty terrible word when it’s used to write off great games because they weren’t coded by a half-person team in a garage-bedroom constantly beset by subarctic winds and ravenous wolverines. So, right then, let’s take a look inside.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Snow joke

This is scandalous! When I buy a shooter, I expect – nay, demand> – for it to include a multiplayer mode that makes a mockery of the carefully-created fiction, is defined by the hollow pursuit of unlocks and is so rapidly abandoned by its players that it’s near-impossible to find a match about a fortnight after release. So hearing that Metro 2033 sequel Last Light has dropped its multiplayer really grinds my gears.

(It doesn’t. It seems like a very smart thing for a singleplayer-focused shooter to do). (more…)

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

When I beat the absolutely wonderful Thirty Flights Of Loving over the weekend, I had precisely one immediate reaction: “Wait, what just happened?” I cannot even begin to tell you how much that excites me. But then I decided to write an article about it, largely because one of my greatest passions in life is defying nonsencial figures of speech. At any rate, Thirty Flights Of Loving packs loads of information into not-even-30-minutes with hardly any dialog or exposition. But, in some ways, it’s even more of a supposed “un-game” than, say, Modern Warfare 3. I mean, all> agency is illusory. Without spoiling anything (note: that’ll happen a little bit after the break), you’re along for the ride – and that’s it. In a couple bits, it doesn’t even matter where you walk. The game will just jump-cut you to your intended location.

So why is it one of my absolute favorite games – and yes, I one hundred percent believe it’s a game – of the year? Because it made me think about what happened. No, scratch that. It required> me to think.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jim Rossignol)

RussianUkrainian blogger and marketing man Sergey Galyonkin – who tipped off the closure of the STALKER 2 project earlier this year – has claimed that Bethesda now have the rights to make a publish a STALKER game. They apparently do not> have rights to the extended universe. GSC owner Sergei Grigorovich has not sold the brand, but apparently Bethesda could now make a game based on the property with their own technology. We’ll report more on this as we get it.

This follows on from the closure of STALKER 2 earlier in the year, an event which culminated in Ukrainian spin-off studios such as Survarium devs, Vostok.

We’ve contacted Bethesda for a statement. UPDATE: Currently they are saying “No comment.”

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