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

With Irrational 20,000 leagues under and Ken Levine off doing his own, significantly smaller thing at 2K, you might think BioShock dead in the water. You would, however, be wrong. Following on from Levine’s original comment that he was leaving the series in 2K’s hands, Take-Two Big Daddy Strauss Zelnick has confirmed at a recent analyst conference that the oft-divisive series will carry on and once-thought-dead BioShock 2 developer 2K Marin will do the honors.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
Bioshock Infinite 4k 12

When Irrational Games closed earlier this year many assumed it would mark the end of the BioShock series. While critically adored, 2013 s BioShock Infinite did not attract the astronomical sales figures video game publishers expect nowadays. But according to Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick, a future for the series has not been ruled out. In fact, during an address at the Cowen and Company analyst conference last week, attended by Gamespot, he explicitly stated that the future of the series lay in the hands of 2K Marin.
"We haven't given any colour on how you should think about yet except we do believe it's beloved. We think it's important certainly something that we're focused on; something 2K Marin will be responsible for shepherding going forward.
I think there's a lot of upside in that franchise," Zelnick continued. "It hasn't necessarily been realised yet. And the question for the future, assuming we decide to answer the question, would be 'How do you stay true to that creatively?'; 'How do you do something exciting?'; and 'How do you do expand the market?'. That would be the natural drill. We're starting from a good point on it. And certainly it's been a great piece of business for us; it's been a profitable piece of business."
Zelnick also commented on Take-Two s strongest performing IPs: Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto and Borderlands. While there s still no news on whether Rockstar will release PC editions of Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto 5, Zelnick did say that both were permanent franchises: evidence enough that a Red Dead Redemption sequel will appear one of these days.
He also took an opportunity to engage in one of the video game world s favourite pastimes: sledging Duke Nukem Forever. Noting that Take-Two s success rate is unusually high due to their careful approach to nurturing IPs, Zelnick admitted that Duke Nukem Forever was a mistake.
"We have a really high hit ratio. It's probably not realistic to believe it could be much higher than it is, he said.
We've had precious few flops. And at least, of the few I can think of - and I can think of a few, sadly - at least one of them was just a misguided decision on my part, which was Duke Nukem.
PC Gamer
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel


Pandora is Borderland's primary globular playground, but why should one celestial body get all the fun? Spanning the time between the first and second games, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel sends us to the dusty crags and canyons of Pandora's moon, home of that giant H-shaped Hyperion mothership and the stage for Handsome Jack's rise to CEO overlord. We've seen it in action, and now you can as well with a lengthy playthrough tour video from co-developers 2K Australia and Gearbox.

The highlight of the video is seeing how Borderlands' chaotic battles play out on a planet weak in gravity and without any atmosphere. Keeping enough oxygen for jump boosts and stomping heads looks either very tedious or very simple; the developers want oxygen to be a fun method for achieving stunts impossible on Pandora, but I'm not sure how fun finding breathable air will be while trying to fend off swarms of charging madmen.

A couple of Pre-Sequel's new classes and their abilities also get the spotlight, including the Gladiator's damage-soaking shield disc and the Enforcer aka the cyborg Wilhelm from Borderlands 2 trading arms and legs for metal equivalents. The new cryo- and laser-type weapons also appear, as well as a brief glimpse at rideable hoverbikes, a giant Hyperion death-laser, and the playable Claptrap who everyone will probably pick at least once.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel releases this fall. Have a look at the video below, and be sure to check out Tim's thoughts as well.

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Announcement - Valve
Save 50% on XCOM: Enemy Unknown during this week's Midweek Madness*!

XCOM: Enemy Unknown will place you in control of a secret paramilitary organization called XCOM. As the XCOM commander, you will defend against a terrifying global alien invasion by managing resources, advancing technologies, and overseeing combat strategies and individual unit tactics.

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time
PC Gamer
XCOM: Enemy Unknown missile attack


Long-suffering Linux gamers will get a nice treat later this summer as XCOM: Enemy Unknown will finally make its way to the platform, in a bundle including all add-on content and the Enemy Within expansion. The "new" game is being developed by Feral Interactive, which until now has worked exclusively on games for Apple platforms (including the OS X version of XCOM), as its debut Linux project.

We re thrilled to have been given the opportunity to bring XCOM: Enemy Unknown to Linux, Feral Interactive Managing Director David Stephen said. It s an amazing game and we are hopeful that Linux gamers will welcome this addition to their platform.

The Linux version of XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be a SteamPlay title running under Ubuntu 14.04 and SteamOS, and will include the original game plus the Slingshot and Elite Soldier DLC packs. More significantly, it also includes the XCOM: Enemy Within expansion that adds new base facilities, weapons, research projects, upgrades, and of course plenty of new and interesting ways to die at the hands of the rapacious alien invaders.

There's no release date or pricing info yet, but as a SteamPlay title, those who already own the game on Windows or Mac should automatically have access to the Linux version once it's out. There's also a pretty cool trailer heralding the game's announcement, which is perhaps a bit more action-packed than the actual game, but I don't think XCOM is really a secret at this point; if you're buying it for Linux, the odds are pretty good that you already know what you're in for. In the meantime, you can find out a little bit more about what's coming (and listen to some ominously moody background music) at Feral Interactive's XCOM page.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

“Why am I playing XCOM through for the sixth time?” is a question I’ve asked myself several times over the last week. There are so many other games I should and would like to play, yet I find myself once again knee-deep in something I by this point know every aspect of. One of the answers to that question is that the game just had a belated Android release, so I found my way to it in waiting rooms and bathroom breaks. Much as it’s a surprisingly natural fit for phone play, the combination of camera control issues, not being able to change the colours of my soldiers’ armour and no Enemy Within expansion drew me to firing up the PC version yet again instead.

Only this time, I switched things up, and have had a completely different experience. A rather more Gollopy experience, one might say. … [visit site to read more]

Announcement - Valve
Save 75% on Spec Ops: The Line during this week's Midweek Madness*!

Spec Ops: The Line is a new original title from 2K Games that features provocative and gripping Third-Person modern military Shooter gameplay designed to challenge players' morality by putting them in the middle of unspeakable situations where unimaginable choices affecting human life must be made. Features include, a gripping, storyline reminiscent of Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness but set in a ruined Dubai, tactical squad-based Delta Force gameplay throughout a horizontally and vertically oriented world, devastating sandstorms which can be used in combat, a variety of multiplayer modes and maps, and deep support featuring two factions.

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time
PC Gamer
world-of-pc-gaming


One of the pleasant parts of writing about games is just meeting the people who share your weird career. I went to a media dinner at PAX East this year and had the chance to get to know some editors that I hadn t met before. The guy sitting next to me happened to be primarily a console gamer, but that actually ended up being a neat opportunity for us to have a kind of cultural exchange. I got to learn about the state of Kinect games and Halo, and he got to hear me explain the appeal of Arma, a game that inspired me to memorize the NATO alphabet.

I took his business card and emailed him a few of my favorite Arma videos by Dslyecxi and CHKilroy later that night, hoping they would give him a sense of the beautiful coordination that s possible in a systems-driven, moddable, massive-scale multiplayer game. A few days after PAX East, I got a wonderful reply our conversation and the videos I d passed along had inspired him to build his first PC in 15 years.

I love being a PC evangelist. With my colleague s note, though, came a tough question: What are the three PC-only games I missed in the last 15 years that I absolutely have to play?

Daunting, right? These are the games I recommended, pasted verbatim from our email exchange:

//

From: Evan Lahti
Sent: Tuesday, May 5, 2014 4:01 PM
To: James Videogames
Subject: Re: ARMA WONDERS

Hey James,

Late follow-up here, but whoa, how exciting! Let me know if you need a hand with the build. Happy to pitch in or mail along one of our PC building issues.

Glad to hear you re willing to dig through some of PC gaming s wondrous past. Give GOG.com a gander for most of that. Fallout 2 is a must; building a grounded, variously amoral character in that setting holds up well. Deus Ex demands a bit of modding to make comfortably modern, though there are some great guides out there. TLJ is a wonder.

But man, this is a dream question. It s the gaming editor s equivalent of being visited by an alien, then asked to provide the three products of humanity they re most proud of. The approach I ve taken here is to suggest three games that are deeply representative of what there is to love about PC gaming as it exists right now. I don t know if I can say that these are absolutely, individually the best games ever made and I remember you mentioning not being particularly interested in MOBAs, so I ll omit those but as a group I think that these games form some good kindling for what ll hopefully be a passionate relationship with PC gaming going forward.

Play these games:


Civilization V
Civ is two things to me: the best board game in the world (that you can happen to play alone) and history, reverently presented in an elegant, entertaining form. The care with which Firaxis animates its tiny, tiled Earth and digital figurines does so much to make its subject matter vibrant. Beyond that, it s a wonderfully arranged set of rules that sets up meaningful decisions around how you develop your civilization. You have to zero-in on short-term and long-term goals while bumping up against the cultural, political, and territorial ambitions of the other civs in your world; it s one of the few experiences where I can drop a dozen-some hours into a game, lose, and enthusiastically start a new game the next second, certain in my new, improved plan to achieve a science victory.

My best advice, if you aren t big on history, would be to dig up a mod for whatever your favorite fandom might be LOTR, Game of Thrones, The Elder Scrolls Avatar: The Last Airbender? A weird amalgamation of Blizzard properties? My Little Pony? I don t know what you want. Perhaps your lifelong dream was to found a civilization dedicated to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Play as the Geth for all I care.


Papers, Please
A lot of the publishing friction that used to exist for individual and small game creators has been removed over the past few years, and it s a trend that s invited more weird, thoughtful, emotional narrative and systems-driven games. Papers, Please is my favorite from the past year; Lucas Pope takes a depressing setting (a fictionalized stand-in for a post-USSR Europe) and an uncomfortable subject (poverty and totalitarianism) and molds it into dystopian Oregon Trail told through rubber stamps and passport photos.

You play an immigration checkpoint officer, reporting into work each day to check over documents for errors. Each person processed correctly earns you money that goes towards maintaining the survival of your family (expressed as an end-of-day score screen where you pay to heat your squalid apartment, for example), but there s only so much time in each day to earn this money, so there s a real pressure to analyze quickly. Without spoiling anything the mundanity of all that is undercut by a series of moral decisions you have to make; in my review, I described it as the intersection of efficiency and intrigue. The need to focus on paperwork to detect forgeries while weighing your conscience and the need to collect your meager paycheck to support your family. The confluence of all that is brilliant. Another quote: A paperwork sim might sound mundane, but spotting a mislabeled gender or a forged stamp produces real pride, and Papers, Please keeps boredom at bay by gradually introducing incentives for bending or breaking the rules.

When you re done, do Kentucky Route Zero, The Castle Doctrine, The Stanley Parable, Gone Home, and The Swapper.



S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat + the CoP Complete mod
Despite being our designated shooter guy, I made the mistake of waiting years to try STALKER. Pripyat is the third expansion, and the Complete mod dials up the production quality of the game s skyboxes, textures, and other assets to modern standards without altering the story or gameplay. Complete is what I d recommend for a first playthrough, but feel free to give Misery a look if you re feeling especially masochistic.

Other than Arma, and with FEAR as a close second, the most memorable firefights I ve had in video games have been in STALKER. Imagine fighting on open terrain, in the dark, with limited ammo, against an unknown number of bandits that are crawling around in some beat-up, abandoned factory. Pripyat prompts you to play with a ton of spontaneity, and that scrappy quality of its firefights distinguishes it from anything else in gaming. The closest approximation might be clearing out a dangerous, random bandit camp in Skyrim, but that s always felt more like an exercise in picking apart an outpost at my own pace rather than being forced to fight on the fly.

STALKER isn't afraid to leave itself unexplained, and you realize how rare the experience of encountering enemies with zero introduction to how they operate is in modern gaming. In other words, without the heavy-handed explanation and focus-tested tutorialization you d get from many Western shooters. That doesn t mean STALKER is tough per se I d describe it more as a game that trusts you enough to feel around in its (haunted, radioactive) world with your arms extended, make mistakes, and learn through that experience. This approach to design is also part of the DNA of DayZ and Arma. Have fun fighting invisible radioactive monstrosities in swamps during a lightning storm!

Mechanically, too, STALKER mixes fidelity with playability in some nice ways; guns degrade and require specific types of ammunition, but every rifle and pistol feels as comfortable as a Call of Duty weapon.

Also:

FTL, the pinnacle of the current roguelike craze. I suppose it s out on iPad, too.

Skyrim + mods, most of which are single-click installs these days through Steam Workshop (http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/browse/?appid=72850&browsesort=toprated)

Something like Skyrim Unbound is especially good for a second playthrough, as it makes how you enter the world selectable from the outset. You can cut the Dragonborn aspect of the game out completely I wanted to play as a completely martial, magicless atheist, so this was especially helpful.
http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/10/27/mod-of-the-week-skyrim-unbound/

Video games,

Evan Lahti
Editor-in-Chief, PC GAMER
evan@pcgamer.com
twitter.com/elahti

//

From: James Videogames
Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 7:01 AM
To: Evan Lahti
Subject: Re: ARMA WONDERS

Heya Evan,

Great catching dinner with you too, man. It's a rare treat to pick someone's brain who's deeply ensconced in granular PC gaming. I know folks who experiment with ArmA and EVE Online, etc. but no one who plays seriously. These videos are fascinating especially the half hour one. I don't necessarily know if I'm tempted to play now, but it's certainly reinforced my fascination.

Your selection of highlights did, however, inspire me to purchase components to build my very first PC since ye olde Packard Bell I had back in '97. Pretty excited about it to be honest. My question for you: What are the three PC-only games I missed in the last 15 years that I absolutely have to play? Archaic mechanics and aesthetics don't frighten me, so don't hold back. Fallout 2, The Longest Journey, and Deus Ex are already at the top of my list.

Best,
James

//

On Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 10:55 PM, Evan Lahti wrote:
Hey! Great having dinner with you. Here's a few Arma videos that'll give you a sense of why folks get into it:

Some gritty, tough, guerrilla-style PvP
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI7fxwy0Llo

A sizzle reel of moments
http://youtu.be/iylW68mwYIg

A longer video that shows a large-scale infantry battle with a bunch of new (but relatively experienced) players, basically like a training mission for recruits against AI
http://youtu.be/BguGRjPqCtM?t=5m6s
PC Gamer
Tales Borderlands thumb


These new screenshots of Telltale's Tales from the Borderlands are so Telltale, and so Gearbox, it's as if someone copy-pasted the former's timed dialogue boxes onto the latter's chunky cel-shaded action. In the new screens, we see a robot do robot things, TftB's two heroes argue about something or other, and Borderlands 2's Zero make a guest appearance in order to chop off some dude's arm. Hey, I'm sure the arm had it coming. Click through to see the whole lot.











Previously on Tales from the Borderlands: the series was announced, and details spilled out of SXSW. These are the first screenshots of the game that have appeared in the wild; we've yet to see anything of Telltale's other recently announced project, based on Game of Thrones.

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

Sometimes you want to charge guns, swords, and words a-blazin into a game world and tame the land until Iron Maiden writes a song about you. Other times, you just want to heft your heavy eyelids, sip a light tea, and gently sail through friendly old places made new again. You’ve got a long day ahead of you, but you don’t have to venture out into the cruel sadlands of life just yet. Remember better days. Here, let me help with videos of the original BioShock and Deus Ex: Human Revolution re-realized in Unreal Engine 4. They’re quite a sight.

… [visit site to read more]

...

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