Join 2K Games and Firaxis Games as we play through the mid and late game turns of a scenario fraught with complexity, conquest, and bison.
We will be playing as the Shoshone in the Civilization V: Conquest of the New World Deluxe Scenario. Talk with us, ask questions, and offer strategies as we attempt to win this 150 turn scenario.
Pete Murray of Firaxis has personally set the stage for an uphill battle for Kate Distler of 2K, playing as the Shoshone. Showcasing the mid and late game of the scenario, the Shoshone have declared war on Elizabeth I without really being prepared to do so. Can the Shoshone survive long enough to knock Elizabeth out of her top spot? Join us at 11:00am Pacific on Twitch.TV/2K and find out!
Hello, an update has gone out for XCOM: Enemy Within. You can find out more about it by reading the patch notes below.
PC and Console
Balance changes to mimetic skin
The Foundry project Pistol I has been applied to Laser and Plasma Pistols
Fix for a hang when close combat triggers while affected by neural damping
Ironman save turning in to an autosave when spamming save/exit
Pause button to strategy and tactical game
Bug Fix for the Edison Achievement not unlocking when researching all techs
Add hunkerdown to the key bindings page
Allowing XEW to unlock second wave options based on steam achievements a user has
Addition of Touch controls to the game*
*Additional Notes Regarding Touch Support
Touch support can be enabled through the options menu. For full functionality, it is recommended to use this option with a multi-touch display. All features may not be available with single-touch displays. If this feature is enabled without a touch display the game may become unresponsive. This option can be disabled at any time with or without using a touch display through the options menu.
Last week Ken Levine announced that Irrational Games as we know it is coming to an end. Most of the team are to be laid off as the studio that gave us System Shock 2, SWAT 4, Freedom Force and Bioshock shuts its doors. The world knows them as the Bioshock developers, but for PC players, they've offered much more. We gather to reflect on the end of a great studio and celebrate their output.
Tim Clark Group senior editor
Having experienced several redundancies firsthand, I feel beholden to say that it will be a hugely traumatic time for those involved and that our first thoughts should be with them. Equally, having been there, I know that those sort of public expressions of sympathy, however well meaning, ultimately feel hollow and don t help you make the rent. But completely selfishly, as someone who plays and writes about videogames, who loved the original BioShock and with minor caveats also loved Infinite, I feel a sadness that we won t be any more visiting worlds cut from Irrational s cloth.
Whatever your issues with those games themes and mechanics, in terms of pure art design there are few destinations in the canon as startling and memorable as Rapture s watery mausoleum and Columbia s star-spangled inferno. If you believe, as I at least partially do, Kieron Gillen s idea that games writing makes us travel journalists reporting from imaginary places, then it s hard not to (selfishly) see the closure of Irrational as also being the destruction of worlds we ll now never get to explore.
Sam Roberts Editor, PC Gamer UK
I think BioShock popularised the first-person shooter/RPG hybrid, non-cutscene storytelling and moral choices in games that, to me, is Irrational s legacy, getting developers to rethink the presentation of story or the depth of their combat systems. System Shock 2 introduced much of what made BioShock special, but for many of those millions of players entering Rapture, this was an entirely new phenomenon that broadened their perception of what interactive narrative could achieve.
Infinite continued that, for me, and like BioShock explored the kind of mature subject matter that is rarely touched upon by triple-A games. That Infinite was contentious is fine with me it s big, beautiful and incomprehensible, but worth talking about in a way that games so rarely are.
The people at Irrational have changed immeasurably over the years, of course, but what a legacy to have every one of its seven titles be lauded by players and the press. That moniker will always stand for quality. If you re mourning the studio, I recommend listening to the Irrational podcasts, which offer a fascinating cross-section of a studio loaded with talented people it s a real sadness that this culture no longer exists, and I wish the very best to those affected by the closure.
Tom Senior Web editor
"I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it," Ken Levine wrote last Tuesday. Whether or not the Irrational name lives on in Levine's new small new endeavour seems moot. This will be the end of Irrational's output as we know it. Console players will know Irrational as the BioShock developers, but we knew them first as the team behind System Shock 2 and SWAT 4. Their first game a cyberpunk horror set in a drifting space hulk, complete with a manic rogue AI. Their last a blitz through a collapsing society in a floating city. In between they made a great co-op friend-tasering sim called SWAT 4, and a superb superhero adventure Freedom Force. And Tribes Vengeance. Man. It s painful to lose a studio with the imagination and boldness to build those worlds.
It's a sad fact that studios are downsized, moved and disbanded all the time, but Levine's message, in which he seems to take personal responsibility for the studio's downsizing, has made this a slightly unusual case. Overzealous corners of the internet jumped on the wording of the post in minutes. The idea of a great studio meeting its demise at the hands of an auteur gone mad is seductively simple, and travels well in 140 characters.
The real story is likely a more familiar one. The huge costs of blockbuster development continue to grow, and Infinite languished in development for many years. In the high-level staff changes, rumours of scrapped multiplayer modes and regular delays, there were hints at a fraught development process. In that scenario even millions of sales can deliver below-estimate profits. A few years back, 2K Marin were smushed into 2K Australia. Like any publisher, Take Two are happy to reform their brace of studios. But with Irrational breaking up, who will take over the Shock series?
It won't be Ken Levine. He's heading up a team of 15 to work on "highly replayable" games that are "narrative-driven." Perhaps he's taking notes from the success of former Irrational and 2K Marin designer Steve Gaynor and, formerly of 2K Marin, Karla Zimonja. With Johnnemann Nordhagen they founded the Fullbright Company, who turned around their narrative-driven debut game, Gone Home, in less than two years to critical success.
If market forces have put an end to Irrational, then the studio has suffered the same fate as Thief and System Shock developers, Looking Glass Studios. The parallels between the two stretch beyond their shared staff members. The design ethos that built System Shock has filtered into the BioShock games, and there's tremendous variety to the output of both studios. Irrational's demise is a blow, but those design ideas, and the flair and skill that went into the construction of the floating city of Columbia will continue to coarse through the industry, as the talent of Looking Glass and Ion Storm did in the 2000s. I'll remember them for the clinical blue-white corridors of the Von Braun, the disturbing scenes at the Fairfax residence in SWAT 4, and those tense first steps into Bioshock's lighthouse. We'll surely see flashes of Irrational's brilliance in many games to come.
Wes Fenlon Features Editor
BioShock was a masterful maze of abandoned homes and once-thriving businesses, with the remnants of former lives told through scattered items and bodies and audio logs. It had personality, even when it was haunting. But nothing else in the game could compare to Fort Frolic, the weirdest, creepiest, funniest place in Rapture. It's easily my favorite level in BioShock, and one of the most evocative video game levels I've ever played. Sander Cohen's artistic presence permeates every corner of Fort Frolic he made that part of Rapture his canvas, and he painted it with madness.
Later in the game, the showdown with Andrew Ryan is BioShock's big thematic reveal. It says something very direct about how we play games, and player choice, and the dissonance between our thoughts and actions. But Fort Frolic has a subtle, perfect moment of dissonance of its own, when The Nutcracker's Waltz of the Flowers begins playing and Cohen's horribly disfigured, beautifully acrobatic Splicer ballerinas come for your life. I was in awe, and completely freaked, as I ran from the Splicers, the music crescendoed, and Cohen yelled "Smile! Smile!" in the background.
The dissonance between the Waltz's beauty and the game's horror that's the moment from BioShock that's going to stick with me forever, and it's on a shortlist of never-forget gaming memories for me. It's a shame that everyone at Irrational who collaborated to make that moment possible artists and animators and writers and sound designers won't have a chance to make another one together.
Phil Savage Staff writer
It feels callous to look to the future when so many of the studio's staff will now be looking to secure their present. The thing I hope for is that, as Irrational's former employees move on to new things, the ideas and ambition that the studio strived to achieve will germinate throughout the industry. A lot of studios are going to be hiring some phenomenal talent, and I suspect a lot of new indie teams are about to appear as well. Both are an exciting prospect, because, while few development teams could boast the budget of late-era Irrational, the design-led philosophy has already paid dividends for smaller, more focused games.
It's telling that two of PC Gamer's favourite games of last year Gone Home and Card Hunter had former Irrational staff among their teams. One provided an engaging, character-led narrative through atmosphere and exploration, while the other deftly weaved two genres into a inventive and satisfying hybrid.
There's been plenty of speculation about whether the type of games Irrational make have a future. Really, it depends on whether you associate them with sprawling spectacle, or systemic diversity. I'd argue that Irrational's strength from System Shock 2 through to BioShock Infinite has been in the latter, and in the way their systems filtered through to the story and presentation. Those lessons can be applied whatever sized game someone's making.
Whether from Levine, his former staff, or other developers who are inspired by their games, Irrational's legacy will be felt for a long time to come.
Cory Banks Managing Editor
I want to be angry about Irrational Games. I want someone to blame. I could be furious at Ken Levine, the studio s creative director and head honcho, who authored the press release revealing that Irrational as you know it was going away. How dare he fire 90 percent of the studio s staff, just so he can make smaller games? Because surely it was just that simple, right?
Or maybe I blame Take-Two Interactive. It s been speculated that BioShock Infinite, Irrational s final game, took so long to make and had such a troubled development period that the game s $4 million in sales isn t enough profit for the bigwigs. Maybe, says the Internet, Take-Two decided to pull the plug on the beloved studio, and kept Levine around because he s one of the few "name" developers left. Because that's what corporations do, right?
Maybe I just blame the dying Triple-A videogame, or retail shops that charge too much for games and drive customers away, or any number of other variables. Would that make me feel better?
The fact that Irrational Games is gone at least as we know it is sad, as is the fact that so many talented developers, engineers, producers, quality assurance testers, and other staff now face the uncertainty of knowing where their next paycheck is coming from. And I want to yell and scream and turn on Caps Lock and launch my fury out into the ether. But it won t help.
What does help, at least for me, is believing that Levine and Take-Two are doing everything they say to help the team that made BioShock Infinite find new jobs. So does remembering that talented people can move on and continue to make their art. And what will ease the immediate pain is going back to play the games that made me love Irrational in the first place: System Shock 2, Freedom Force, SWAT 4, BioShock. Instead of raging against the machines for transgressions I neither know to be true or even understand, I choose to remember and enjoy the games that will be Irrational's legacy. It's not the act of a revolutionary, but it's the best I've got.
Today, Ken Levine announced that Irrational Games will be winding down as we know it after it releases the last piece of DLC for BioShock Infinite. Levine will be starting a smaller, "more entrepreneurial" endeavor at Take-Two, which also worked with him on the BioShock games. Unfortunately, this means Irrational will let go of all but 15 employees.
Levine co-founded Irrational Games seventeen years ago with Jon Chey and Rob Fermier. The studio has developed BioShock, BioShock Infinite, Freedom Force, SWAT 4, and others.
"Seventeen years is a long time to do any job, even the best one. And working with the incredible team at Irrational Games is indeed the best job I've ever had," Levine said in a message on Irrational's official site. "While I m deeply proud of what we've accomplished together, my passion has turned to making a different kind of game than we've done before. To meet the challenge ahead, I need to refocus my energy on a smaller team with a flatter structure and a more direct relationship with gamers. In many ways, it will be a return to how we started: a small team making games for the core gaming audience."
Levine said that in time he will announce a new endeavor, which will aim to make narrative-driven games for "core" gamers that reward multiple playthroughs, that focus on direct relationship with fans, and dedicated to delivering digital content exclusively.
The laid off members of Irrational will receive financial support, access to the office to put together their portfolios, and offered opportunities within Take-Two.
Levine also said that Irrational will do its best to update the site with an FAQ.
This is brilliant. Steam user Snakeeeater337 has created a mod for Sid Meier's Civilization V that makes Papers, Please's Arstotzka a playable nation in the game, with its own units, special traits, and even a new map.
Since Papers, Please never establishes the identify of the Big Brother-esque leader its Eastern Bloc-inspired nation, the mod's Arstotzka is led by "Glorious Leader." Its custom unit is the Border Guard, which has no maintenance cost and a 50 percent combat bonus in friendly territory. Outside friendly territory the Border Guard is weaker than a regular Rifleman unit. The custom building, appropriately, is a Border Checkpoint, which reduces the spy stealing rate by 33 percent and has no maintenance cost. You can also fill its specialist slots with Immigration Inspectors, who provide three gold each turn.
In addition, the mod also adds a map based off the one that appears on passports in Papers, Please, and ads Cobrastan as a City-State.
You'll need both Sid Meier's Civilization V and the Brave New World expansion to run the mod, which you can through Steam Workshop. Glory to Arstotzka!
You'd think that with the success of Borderlands 2, Gearbox would already be hard at work on Borderlands 3, but that isn't the case. "I'm not going to fuck around with you like Valve does with Half-Life 3," Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford told Polygon. "We know we want it and we know it should exist, but we don't know what it is yet."
You have to appreciate the honesty. It's not like we won't get another Borderlands it's just too early at this stage for Gearbox to talk about it in any concrete way. Loosely speaking, Pitchford added that he knows that the game should be "next-gen" and "probably crazy multi-platform." He also said that it should be bigger and better than Borderlands 2, and follow up Borderlands 2's story. That's certainly what we're expecting given the future beyond planet Pandora that's hinted at in the end of Borderlands 2.
Pitchford did imply, however, that more Borderlands things are afoot at Gearbox, even if the developer hasn't begun work on a fully fledged sequel. "We are doing things in Borderlands that we'll announce soon, that are good, and that I think people will be really excited about if you love the franchise," he said. There's also Telltale Games' Tales from the Borderlands, expected to release in 2014.
Aside from Borderlands, Pitchford said that Gearbox is working on two, yet-to-be-revealed games, unrelated to existing franchises. And this on top of its Furious Four, another Brothers in Arms game, remastered editions of both Homeworlds and Homeworld: Shipbreakers.
As we reported yesterday, Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax will be the last piece of DLC for Borderlands 2. We also have some ideas of our own about what we want from Borderlands 3.
It's going to be hard to say goodbye, but 2K has announced that Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax will be the last piece of DLC for Borderlands 2. Set to release via Steam on April 15, this fifth Headhunter pack will sell for $3.
Sir Hammerlock Versus the son of Crawmerax adds a new area to the game, a tropical island vacation spot called Wam Bam Island. You'll journey across the island, putting bullets in things, collecting loot, and eventually face Crawmerax Jr., son of the great crab worm from The Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC for the original Borderlands. Crawmerax Jr. "is seeking vengeance on Lilith, Brick and Mordercai for brutally defeating his father over and over again," 2k said on its blog. "You must fight him off without their help so, you may want to call some friends to help you out with this one."
Borderlands 2 was released in September 2012 and has since received a steady stream of additional content. You can get the base game from Steam from for $20, or the Game of the Year edition for $40, which also includes all the DLC that was part of the games' Season Pass. Gearbox has done a great job of supporting the game after launch, so there is also a ton of content you can buy beyond that.
Ever since Irrational Games announced that its BioShock Infinite downloadable content would take place in Rapture, fans have speculated about how the worlds in the BioShock franchise could be connected. As we get ever closer to the release of Burial At Sea Episode 2, a new, very spoilery video starts to hint at answers while showing off a whole host of returning characters from both Rapture and Columbia.
Seriously, spoilers ahead. You've been warned.
The video, billed as a "behind the scenes" look at Episode 2, shows the sheer number of characters and returning voice actors we can look forward to. Courtnee Draper returns as Elizabeth, this time as the lead protagonist that players will control. Troy Baker is also back, as Infinite anti-hero Booker DeWitt. But many of the original actors from BioShock 1 will return as well, which means you can expect to see Andrew Ryan and Atlas in your adventures through Rapture.
Most interestingly, actress Kimberly Brooks will return in Episode Two as BioShock Infinite's Daisy Fitzroy. How Fitzroy makes it from Columbia's reality to Rapture isn't shown, but it's big news that she factors into the game.
We also get our first glimpse of the first-person view for Elizabeth, specifically in a shot of her watching an Andrew Ryan video while holding a pistol.
Irrational Creative Director Ken Levine says at the end of the video that fans will feel a "sense of completeness" at the end of Episode 2. Will this be the end of the BioShock story? We'll have to wait until March 25, when Episode 2 of Burial at Sea is available, before we can know for sure.