PC Gamer

I understand the desire for a lore-bending battle royale between Blizzard's various franchises. I also understand the desire for that all-star showdown to not take the form of a lane-pushing game. While Blizzard aren't about to create a 4X strategy, modders can certainly shoehorn their characters into an existing one. That's what has happened in Blizzard Allstars, which brings multiple of their factions into turn-based empire-'em-up Civilization 5: Gods & Kings.

The mod contains seven Blizzard factions, including Terran, Zerg, Protoss, Human, Elf, Orc and Undead, and contains races from StarCraft, Warcraft and Diablo. Each faction offers a different way to play, with individual tech trees, buildings, units and improvements.

More than a simple reskin, the mod completely changes certain systems. You'll find a new mana resource, which can be used to power spells, and a trait system to further improve and tailor individual heroes.

The full collection provides not just the main mod, but also a series of special reskinned buildings and a new soundtrack for the game. You can download the full thing from the Steam Workshop.

Thanks, Kotaku.
PC Gamer
X-Com 2

For strategy gamers, Julian Gollop is a name of hallowed reverence. His Belt of Achievements includes pre-millenium classics such as Laser Squad and Chaos. Most notably, he created the X-COM series of turn-based tactical alien fragging and directed 1994's X-COM: UFO Defense widely considered one of the best strategy games ever made. The franchise spent some time in the engineering bay before returning in 2012 with Firaxis' excellent Enemy Unknown, but Gollop has lately turned to crowdsourced funding with a small team to develop his multiplayer wizard-em-up reboot Chaos Reborn. In an AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread on Reddit last weekend, Gollop answered questions on his take of the current state of strategy games, alternate funding, and the rise of early access.

Chaos Reborn's most recent status update saw a Kickstarter campaign kick off earlier this year as a means to gather additional funds for adding additional competitive and co-op modes to the turn-based sorcery dueler. So far, the campaign has amassed over $96,000 in donations with 22 days left.

Here's a few of Gollop's most interesting answers from the thread:

On preferences between "old, more complex" X-COM design and current, "more casual" remake design: "That's a toughie. There are some things about the new XCOM which are clearly better a better tutorial, a better interface. The old complex X-COM had a slightly different approach the aliens had their agenda which progressed no matter what the player did. Things were more systemic and less scripted. I still prefer this approach, but it's just not seen in any AAA game these days, let alone the new XCOM."

Gollop wanted to create a Lovecraftian, 20th century strategy game after X-COM: "After the first X-COM, I was so worn out by the development that I wanted to do something in a new direction. I proposed an X-COM-style game based on a kind of Lovecraftian Chthulu mythos set in the 1930s with cults, portals into a parallel world, and Nazis. Microprose said that horror games don't sell. However, some elements of these ideas did make it into X-COM: Apocalypse."

On how game development changed since the '80s: "The main changes are the abundance of powerful tools and engines (e.g. Unity, which we are using on Chaos Reborn), the specialization of many roles (I used to do everything. Art, coding, sound, etc.), and the diversity of the market opening up opportunities for new types of games. It was really very amateurish back in the early 1980s, but there was still some amazing talent and fantastic games made."

On early access: "Early access can really help developers get their project finished which might not otherwise get any funding. It's a two-way street, though. I think developers need to be very careful to offer something of real value if they are actually charging money for it. They must 'find the fun' quickly, and it must be present from the earliest release. In my view, rough graphics and functional interfaces are acceptable, but buggy, incoherent gameplay isn't."

On the next most exciting development in the industry: "I'm pretty excited about Steam OS, because it would be great to have an open games platform succeed. The Oculus Rift is even more exciting though, and I think it will do well. Above all, though, I think that the rise of the indie gaming scene is the most exciting thing I have seen in years."

On the current state of strategy gaming: "I think things are improving. XCOM is a standout success, of course, but there is some really good stuff coming out. I love Unity of Command, for example, with its brilliant presentation and UI. I like the work of Shenandoah Studio with its iPad games, Battle of the Bulge, and Drive on Moscow. I have been in awe of Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings 2. More stuff seems to be happening on tablets, which is a great platform for turn-based games, for sure. Still, I wish there were more high quality turn-based strategy games."
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
X-COM is one of the most beloved games in all of PC strategy games. A new book by Shack's David L. Craddock promises to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the making of UFO Defense, Laser Squad, Chaos, and other strategy games by designer Julian Gollop. The X-COM Files: How Alien Invaders, Rebel Squads, and Gooey Blobs Took Strategy Gaming by Storm will be available on Kindle in October, with "other platforms" coming afterwards.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

BioShock Infinite’s DLC, BioShock Infinite and BioShock 1 concludes with this second, longer, stealthier half of last November’s return to Rapture. It’s out now. >

You’ll hear no politics from me, though by God it’s tempting to correlate Burial At Sea Part 2′s status as a swansong for two BioShock universes with the recent, shock closure of Irrational. Whatever else there is to both tales, at least this concluding DLC for BioShock Infinite reverses the sense of decline we’ve seen since the original BioShock. Despite a multitude of sins it does leapfrog both Infinite and its own, irritatingly slight if visually flabbergasting Part 1. It also includes the single most unpleasant – and frankly needless with it – moment I’ve ever experienced in a videogame. … [visit site to read more]

Shacknews - Steve Watts
XCOM: UFO Defense creator Julian Gollop has launched a crowd-funding campaign for his next game. Chaos Reborn is a reboot of one of his 1985 ZX Spectrum game Chaos: The Battle of the Wizards. You'll customize your own wizard and go head-to-head against five others.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Chaos Reborn is the next game from Julian Gollop, lead creator of the original X-COM: UFO Defense – the greatest videogame of all time. This is a remake of and sequel to Gollop’s earlier, magical duelling game Chaos: The Battle of Wizards. It It takes to Kickstarter today, but unlike other nostalgia-led projects, it’s been in active development for some time already. I played a prototype recently, and I have this to say about it. > … [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - dalgood
1.8.1 Patch Notes

  • Added support for Traditional Chinese in base game.
  • Modified installation script to install Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable
Community Announcements - Kate.Galfriday
Hello Commander,

From the makers of Sid Meier’s Civilization comes a game about civilization’s last stand. XCOM: Enemy Unknown captured the attention of gamers and critics alike earning several game of the year awards, now the original game plus the critically acclaimed expansion XCOM: Enemy Within, and all of the released add-on content are packaged together for an incredible value.

This PC-only edition includes the following:

XCOM: Enemy Unknown
XCOM: Enemy Within
Elite Soldier Pack add-on content
Slingshot add-on content
Second Wave add-on content

Learn more at XCOM.com.

Join the conversation at Facebook.com/XCOM and on twitter @XCOM.

We will be watching.
Community Announcements - Kate.Galfriday
Hello Commander,
We hope that you can join Firaxis Games and 2K for our XCOM livestream today. The show starts at 11:00am Pacific time and will feature Portent on Impossible. Will we succeed against an Enemy Unknown? Find out today while chatting with Firaxis and 2K at Twitch.tv/2K.
Hope to see you there!

XCOM Livestream
Friday | 03.07.2014
11:00am Pacific
Community Announcements - Kate.Galfriday
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!

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