Survarium's unstoppable "green apocalypse" is creeping towards a closed beta development phase, according to a new dev diary from the folks at Vostok Games. An MMO/FPS hybrid set in a world of collapsing societies and strange anomolies, Survarium's latest update features new public footage from the shooter, as well as some details about the ways players can find an invite to help test the game.
"Right now we want to focus on purely gameplay, start working with the balance, the in-game economy, as well as increase the server workload to test how the servers behave under really heavy loads with a large number of players," said the game's project lead Ruslan Didenko in the video diary below.
Survarium has been in alpha testing through the summer and the team's planning a variety of options for those of you who want to take part in the beta. Given the subject matter of the game, it seems fitting that Vostok is planning a lottery system through its website to hand out entries to the closed beta. Once implemented, the lottery will randomly hand out a new beta invite every three hours, according to Vostok marketing director Oleg Yavorsky.
Of course, it's not completely random, as Yavorsky reports that registered users of the game's website as well as active forum members will see a better chance of scoring an invite.
For a refresher on how Vostok Games emerged from the collapse of the Stalker series, check out this interview with Survarium lead designer Alexei Sytyanov from earlier this year. Want to get on radar of Vostok Games early-testing program? Sign up here.
Space Marine, the ultra-violent close-combat exploration of the grisly Warhammer 40K universe, was a good game that didn't get enough attention. Still, had THQ not completely imploded at the end of 2012, Space Marine’s protagonist Captain Titus was planned to have been at the center of two more games. The game’s director, Raphael van Lierop, is now part of the team that successfully Kickstarted The Long Dark, and he claims to have had big plans for Titus.
“The second part of his story was to focus on a ‘Titus Unleashed’ plot—basically there were forces arrayed against him that would see his loyalty to the Adeptus Astartes pushed to its limit, and his reaction would be to kind of ‘go rogue,’ and we'd see a different Titus, not quite as in control as we saw him in Space Marine,” van Lierop told The PA Report. “He would survive, and come back even stronger in the third game, where other Space Marines still loyal to him would rally around him and he'd return to ‘clean house,’ but as the head of a brand new Chapter that we would build around him.”
I found Space Marine to be a well-made ballet of death and carnage, which is my favorite kind of ballet. For more details on Titus’s cancelled storylines, check out the full interview with van Lierop at PAR.
Video games produced in Russia and Eastern Europe are nothing new, what with the Stalker series and Metro: Last Light. For the first time, though, we could start seeing video games produced in part by the Russian government to teach players specifically about the glorious history of the Russian military.
“The main thing we expect from the producers of video games is the realistic and historically truthful representation of events,” said Arseny Mironov, aid to Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, according to Hollywood Reporter. Company of Heroes 2 has taken a lot of flak from angry Russians for its fictional-but-not-totally-made-up depiction of the Red Army fighting and dying on the Eastern Front. Despite the controversy, the game is popular among Russian gamers.
"A video game has to have not only an entertainment value, but it also has to teach and be conducive to patriotic education," Mironov continued. The Russian Military History Society is in currently developing the first government-funded game, which will follow the beginnings of Russian air power during World War 1. The government has not announced which local developer might be taking on that project.
Government-funded games are not a new concept, of course. Here in the United States we’ve got everything from Moonbase Alpha to America’s Army funded by the government to get young people interested in the kinds of adventures they could theoretically possibly probably never have if they decide to take a job with the government.
Things got decidedly more dystopian, however, when the culture ministry talked about their options for banning video games that “discredit the Russian soldier” and "distort historic facts." For Mironov, a "negative image of the Russian warrior" should not be allowed. At least for right now, though, all they’re doing is talking.
This latest Survarium trailer is a pretty good showcase for the game's lovingly rendered ruined world, but it's also one of the more exciting 'let's show off one of our game maps' videos I've watched. It has a narrative and everything, telling the story of a sniper perched on top of an abandoned church, and some dude who tries to take him down. What is Survarium again? It's the free-to-play multiplayer shooter from former Stalker 2 devs, and you can still sign up for the alpha over here.
Snipers. Why'd it have to be snipers? Although it looks like a straightforward Call of Duty-style shooter in this video, Survarium, like Stalker, will feature various anomalies - which appear to add various buffs and power-ups to your character - along with co-op missions and an intriguing "free play" mode where anything goes. The beta and launch (for ex-USSR territories at least) is still on track for later this year, with the international one happening next year.
Many publishers swarmed in on THQ’s trove of established licenses earlier this year, but Nordic Games arguably got one of the biggest takes by buying both the Darksiders and Red Faction franchises. However, it’ll probably be a while before we see anything new from those franchises, considering Nordic bought the licenses just this April. So what do you do with a stack of licenses and nothing new to show? Put them on sale.
Nordic Games has taken over this week’s Humble Weekly Sale, and you’ll notice it’s plastered with games that used fall under THQ name. Paying a penny or more will get you Red Faction: Armageddon, The Guild 2, Neighbours From Hell Compilation, the original Supreme Commander its standalone expansion, Forged Alliance. Paying at least six of your hard-earned dollars adds Painkiller: Hell & Damnation, ArcaniA, Darksiders 2, and SpellForce 2: Faith in Destiny to the list. I’m not sure why Supreme Commander 2 and the original Darksiders aren’t bundled, but you can’t really complain with six dollars. Well, you can, but not without sounding the opposite of humble.
Every game comes with a Steam key except the Neighbours From Hell Compilation, though that’s because the game’s still trying to be greenlit on Steam. The game listing says users will automatically receive Steam keys if the game gets the greenlight. It’s not really a big deal considering you have eight other games to play, though I suppose you could just double-click the .exe like a caveman.
Correction: This article previously referred to the sale as a "Humble Bundle," which is distinct from the "Humble Weekly Sale."
Good news, Metro fans! According to Deep Silver CEO Dr. Klemens Kundratitz, more Metro games are planned beyond this year’s Metro: Last Light. Speaking to Joystiq at Gamescom last week, Kundratitz refused to officially announce a Last Light sequel, but emphasized that the franchise would have more entries eventually.
"I’m very glad we acquired that brand," Kundratitz said, referring to Deep Silver’s purchase of Metro from THQ during that troubled publisher’s asset auction earlier this year. "While it launched in a very dry space in the gaming calendar this year, it still got a lot of attention."
Kundratitz also said that future games would be made “more accessible to a broader gaming audience," but insisted that Dmitry Glukhovsky, the author of Metro 2033, still holds the license and has some say in the creative process. Any changes to broaden the audience for future Metro games will have continue to be approved by Glukhovsky.
We enjoyed Metro: Last Light, so we’re happy to see that more Metro games will probably be heading our way in the near-ish future. Now begins the long, long wait.
Are all your friends playing Saints Row IV and you're not? Me too. Are you going to wait for it to go on sale? Me too. In the meantime, fellow budget-conscious gamer, join me in wringing a bit more ridiculous, violent fun from Saints Row: The Third. We'll do it with cheats! Not just some cheats. ALL of the cheats, compiled into a single mod (by master SR modder IdolNinja) called Sandbox+ v1.2. It maps dozens of cheats to simple key combinations, allowing you easily teleport to different locations, give yourself superpowers, and turn all the citizens of Steelport into zombies or mascots. With the mod installed, I naturally begin by turning all the pedestrians into zombies. This is a cheat from the original game, but instead of having to take out my in-game phone and enter a code, I can just hold down 7 and press the INSERT key. PRECIOUS SECONDS ARE SAVED! See, I want to pretend the zombie apocalypse has hit Steelport, and fight my way across the city on foot through scores of zombies, armed only with a spiked bat and a shotgun.
Zombies. Does this mean Chris Hardwick will talk excitedly about my column? God, I hope not. Zombies slowly begin to appear on the sidewalk and chase the remaining, uninfected citizens around, trying to bite them. Within a minute there are no citizens left, only shambling flesh-eaters, and they have my scent. WilI make it through this grim version of Steelport alive?
The TF2 Scout couldn't dream of doing this with his puny bat. Well, uh, yeah. Quite easily, in fact. I can run faster than the zombies, and I never get tired, so just straight-up fleeing isn't a a problem. Plus, they still spawn like citizens, on the sidewalk, leaving me a clear path down the middle of the street, and they only really get aggro if I get close to them. So, my desperate run through Steelport isn't quite as fraught with peril as I'd expected. I switch to my bat to make things harder, but my bat is actually a lot better than my shotgun at wiping out crowds of zombies. Huh.
Christina Hendricks is NOT impressed. Well! My plan of spending the entire column describing Steelport's zombie apocalypse isn't going to pan out, so I'm forced to turn to other activities. One thing will always remain fresh and fun: killing mascots. Another key combo (7 and HOME) turns everyone in the city from zombies into costumed characters. The city becomes an instant cosplay convention, with walking bottles, rabbits, and monkeys, all strolling around or driving those little carts and scooters.
Suddenly, I'm the weird one. They don’t attack me like zombies, of course, but I won't let that stop me from treating them as hostile targets. What could be more offensive to humanity than some sweaty idiot stuffed into a giant foam suit? They must die. They ALL must die, and as it happens, they're all here, so that works out pretty well.
Running down mascots. It's just good clean fun. If you’re looking for a seedier experience, another key combo will let you transform the city into one big brothel, where every citizen is turned into a pimp or a prostitute.
Now, at least, I don't feel like the weird one. Along with transforming (and murdering) the populace, there are roughly 1 million other cheats, all accessible with a simple two-key combo. Teleportation keys can be punched to whisk you anywhere in the city, to the roof of the tallest building in Steelport, the top of the steelworker statue, and even to Mars. No more trying to remember where you parked your helicopter: just press the right keys and you're whisked to your destination. Another key combo lets you cycle through the various times of day in the blink of an eye.
Teleport + clock control = no more waiting around to take attractive daytime screenshots. There are plenty of standard cheats, like turning off police notoriety, so the cops don’t chase you because you just ran over seventy-five mascots. On the other hand, what's the point of running over seventy-five mascots if it doesn't lead to a massive battle with the fuzz? The superpowers that come with chugging a can of irradiated Saints Flow can be yours with just another couple keystrokes, letting you run through the city with the speed of a sports car for as long as you like.
Running in heels at 60mph. Can't feel good no matter how super you are. Speaking of super, you can imbue yourself with explosive electrical or pyrotechnical powers that pulse from your body at regular intervals, blasting your enemies (or, you know, whomever happens to be nearby) into jiggling helplessness on the street around you.
I found something better than running over mascots. Watching them deathjiggle as you electrocute them. Sandbox+ v1.2 is pretty much what it says it is: a sandbox, something to play around in, putting scores of cheats at your fingertips and letting you muck around with whatever you want, whenever you want it. I wouldn’t use this mod if you’re legit playing through the game, but if you’ve finished the game or just want to mess around for a bit, this mod is good for a few hours of chaotic, wish-fulfilling gameplay. Installation: There are a few important steps, and several files that need to go in separate places, but the readme.txt that comes in the download (this is a direct link to the .rar, and here's a link to the forum with info on the mod) is easy to follow, and includes all the new command key combos. Once you’ve got the files in the right spot and have loaded the game, you’ll need to go to the option screen and reset your key-mapping to the defaults. You can re-customize it after that, but the new key combos won’t work unless you first switch to the default setup. More info on how to do this properly in this post.
The Deep Silver Humble Bundle turned some heads last week, with a great deal on games like Saints Row: The Third and Risen 2: Dark Waters. Now the bundle has expanded to include Dead Island and Metro 2033, making it a deal that is just ridiculous to pass up.
Paying more than the average ($5.14, as of this writing) gets you Dead Island, Metro 2033, Risen 1, Sacred Citadel and all Saints Row: The Third DLC. You can also pay more than $25 to get the recently released Dead Island: Riptide.
As with all Humble Bundles, you get to name your price and divide your purchase between publisher Deep Silver, charities like the American Red Cross, Child’s Play and World Vision, or Humble Bundle itself.
In my opinion, too many gamers have overlooked Metro 2033, which would be worth the $5 purchase price alone. If you're still holding off on the excellent Metro: Last Light, maybe exploring the previous game in that series will convince you.
Head over the Humble Bundle site and check it out. Over 400,000 bundles have already been sold, but the deal runs out next Tuesday, August 13.
Company of Heroes 2 has been hitting some bumps recently. Though we really enjoyed the game, many of the themes and tropes of the game’s depiction of World War II’s Eastern Front have come under fire from Russian fans. Now, CoH 2’s distributor for Russia and Eastern Europe is halting sales while they check out the situation.
1C-SoftClub stopped sales of CoH 2 on July 26 after a petition, alleging that the game’s depiction of Soviet soldiers did not promote patriotism among adolescents, received more than 5,000 signatures. “In connection with appeals of people who consider unacceptable number of episodes of the game,” 1C-SoftClub wrote on its website, “ stopped selling PC game Company of Heroes...in the territory of the Russian Federation and .”
In Company of Heroes 2, some of the most notorious abuses of the World War II-era Soviet Army are depicted as part of the gameplay. Though episodes where soldiers are sent into battle without weapons are based on historical reality, Russian critics claim that focusing on these isolated incidents as if they were part of daily life for Soviet soldiers exaggerates the stereotype to a parody.
When you make a game that tangles with national mythology, things tend to get political very quickly.
Speaking to Polygon, a representative from Sega didn’t offer much except that they were taking the situation “seriously” and couldn’t comment further. We’ll keep you up to date as the situation develops.
There's no escape. You'd have thought that Company of Heroes 2's release would have meant the end of its non-stop trailer bombardment. But no, Relic are refusing to surrender. Today's incoming media air-drop marks a free update, which brings a reworked version of the classic Company of Heroes map Langres - one of the most popular small-scale maps from the original. Remade for the Eastern Front setting, this new Langreskaya has been introduced with summer and winter variations.