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XCOM 2 is now available for pre-purchase, if it's something you're planning to throw your money at up-front. To mark the big moment (and also the real reason we're here), 2K Games has made XCOM: Enemy Unknown free for the weekend on Steam—and the weekend, at least on the 2K bizarro calendar, has already begun.
Pre-purchases of XCOM 2 will include the Resistance Warrior Pack, which enables customization of your resistance fighters with new outfits, headgear, and war paint. It will also unlock a "survivor of the old war" as a recruitable character, "instantly," according to the Steam description, implying that you'll be able to unlock him or her through other, more laborious means (or maybe just pay for it) as well.
As for the "original" XCOM: Enemy Unknown ("original" in quotes because, as you'll recall, Enemy Unknown is a remake of the brilliant 1994 release X-COM: UFO Defense), it will remain free until 10 am Pacific on September 13, and will be on sale for 75 percent off its regular $30 price during that period as well. Progress earned during the free weekend will carry over if it's purchased—although if you're anything like me, three days of play will be just enough time to figure out what an absolute mess you've made of things, and that starting over is the only option left.
If you've ever been curious about Borderlands but haven't gotten around to giving it a go due to the eternal cash flow struggle, now would be a good time to turn your attention to the Humble Bundle. The collection revealed today includes the original Borderlands, plus The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, Mad Moxxi's Underground Riot, and The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, all for whatever price you want to pay.
Those who beat the average purchase price will also get Borderlands 2, along with the Psycho Pack add-on, the Mechromancer add-on, the Creature Slaughterdome add-on, and a coupon for 75 percent off Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel in the Humble Store. And for 15 bucks or more, you can tack on the Borderlands 2 season pass, which includes the Captain Scarlett and her Pirate s Booty, Mr. Torgue s Campaign of Carnage, Sir Hammerlock s Big Game Hunt, and Tiny Tina s Assault on Dragon Keep add-ons, the Headhunter 5: Son of Crawmerax add-on, the Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2, and a coupon for 25 percent off off stuff in the 2K Store.
"But wait!" he cried, waving his Ginsu knives at the assembled onlookers with mad abandon. "There's more!" As in more games that will be added to the bundle on June 30, the mid-point of the sale. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is the most obvious candidate, but it would be kind of strange to make it free in a bundle that also includes a coupon for the same game. Dare we hope for Tales From the Borderlands?
Money spent on the Humble Borderlands Bundle can be directed toward 2K Games, the Humble Bundlers, or the National Videogame Museum, at your discretion. The bundle is live now and runs until July 7.
Borderlands creator Matthew Armstrong has left Gearbox, he confirmed on Twitter over the weekend. As both creator and writer of the first game in the series, Armstrong was also involved in Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel in various capacities.
Things changed. No longer working at @GearboxSoftware. I will always love Gearbox, but it's adventure time.
— Matthew Armstrong (@MisterArmstrong) April 17, 2015
News of Armstrong's departure follows the closure of 2K Australia last week, the studio responsible for last year's The Pre-Sequel. With work complete on both The Pre-Sequel and the recent Handsome Collection for consoles, Armstrong told Game Informer that he'd taken the opportunity to leave at a time when he was "non-vital".
"I could leave without damaging Borderland or Gearbox too much if I did it at this moment, so now was the time," he said. "I think Gearbox will do great in the future, and I think Borderlands will stay strong and awesome. I've been thinking about it for a while. I'm not quitting out of anger or getting fired. It's just time for new adventures. I'm an inventor. I'm ready to make something new. Not just new to me, but new to everyone."
We're likely to see a Borderlands 3 at some point but probably not for a while: Gearbox only started recruiting for it in January.
That happy looking fellow above is Paul Hellquist, who you may know as the Borderlands 2 creative director. He's standing in front of the Robot Entertainment logo because he's left Gearbox to join the Orcs Must Die! studio as a lead designer, it was announced today. That means Hellquist won't be working on any forthcoming Borderlands games, but he will be working on Orcs Must Die! Unchained.
Hellquist has quite the resume: before his senior role on Borderlands 2 he spent nine years at Irrational Games, during which time he worked as lead designer on BioShock. Now he'll work on the MOBA-esque Orcs Must Die! Unchained, which our Emanuel Maiberg went hands-on with last year. Robot Entertainment CEO Patrick Hudson says the next phase of that game's beta will be detailed soon.
As for a potential Borderlands 3, as of February last year Gearbox hadn't started development. "We know we want it and we know it should exist, but we don't know what it is yet," Randy Pitchford said at the time. If it's Borderlands you want though, 2K Australia's Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel arrived late last year, as did Telltale's Tales From The Borderlands.
In Now Playing PC Gamer writers talk about the game currently dominating their spare time. Today, Sam confronts Spec Ops' most controversial moment.
This article contains story spoilers for Spec Ops: The Line.
Spec Ops: The Line is clearly a smart game written by smart people. While as an adaptation of Heart of Darkness it s never as successfully weird or iconic as Apocalypse Now (despite making similar creative decisions), it s daring and ambitious in the way it portrays US military intervention in the midst of escalating chaos. I ve thought about the story a lot since I completed it recently. But what I interpret as its central conceit—that the player is the one making the decision to push forward and cause every conflict, and is thus the villain of the story—isn t really supported by the game itself. This is especially highlighted by the notorious white phosphorus scene halfway through, where protagonist Captain Walker and his two squadmates accidentally wipe out civilians with a real life weapon that burns flesh to the bone.
Spec Ops wants to make a BioShocklike message about human behaviour and choice, but in this key moment, there is no choice to be made. I m at the top of a building looking down into an enclosed bowl where an army of enemies is about to be ambushed by one of the worst weapons on this planet. I man the artillery, which triggers a bird s-eye targeting camera, and bring fire down upon scores of enemy troops. I figure out where the civilians are cowering, in a trench near the back of the field of conflict, and aim around them—but it doesn t matter. The radius of the white phosphorus impact automatically extends to scorch the group of innocents, and while this is a story beat that s technically interactive, it needs to happen no matter what. I tried not to hit them, but I was always going to.
The cutscene that follows shows the full extent of the carnage: charred corpses everywhere and the distressing image of a dead mother hugging her child, both burnt alive. If Call of Duty did this, there d be uproar. It s to the credit of Yager, the developer, that the context justifies the horror in this case.
But the fact remains that I didn t kill those civilians—Yager forced that outcome. While the aftermath still makes me uncomfortable, the fact that I was aiming around the civilians absolves me of guilt as a player—and I m not sure that was the intent. There s a strong narrative emphasis on the escalating madness in Dubai being of Walker s making, but lacking choice, I start to grow apart from that character.
The only choice I get to make comes in the aftermath, as I slowly tread through the blackened corpses and stick a bullet in anyone unfortunate enough to have survived. That s power put back into my hands as a player—I choose to kill those civilians to make up for Walker s poor choice with the white phosphorus. But again: that was his decision, not mine. It was Spec Ops most important narrative moment and they took it out of my hands. The impact is extraordinary, but had they genuinely hoodwinked me into killing civilians, it could ve lived with me forever.
And unlike BioShock, where the entire game is built to support a killer twist for the ages, in Spec Ops it becomes increasingly obvious that these are not my choices. Consequently, inspiring an equal reaction is impossible—Captain Walker is not me. I am grateful that Yager tried to do something so different with a military shooter, exploring an angle that makes every modern FPS seem gaudy to me in the way they present war, even with that clash between player and character in mind. I only hold this story to a higher standard than I usually would because I feel the developers have earned it.
We like cheap PC components and accessories. But you know what we like even more? Expensive PC components and accessories that are on sale. We ve partnered with the bargainmeisters at TechBargains to bring you a weekly list of the best component, accessory, and software sales for PC gamers.
Some highlights this week: Ubisoft has a huge amount of games on sale starting at 40% off. You can get Bastion for only $3.75, and if you haven't played it yet then you probably should. Newegg has a 250GB Solid State Drive for only $112.99 and it comes with Borderlands 2 for free. And, in a similar deal to last week, XFX has another video card on sale that comes with your choice of three free games from a list that includes Alien: Isolation, Sniper Elite 3, and Tomb Raider.
— The Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD is over 40% off, only $112.99 on Newegg, and comes with Borderlands 2 for free.
— Similar to a deal last week, the XFX Double D R9-270X-CDFC Radeon R9 270X 2GB Video Card is $154.99 on Newegg after a $30 rebate, and comes with three free games. The choices include Alien: Isolation, Star Citizen, Sniper Elite 3, Thief, Tomb Raider, and many more.
— The Acer S241HLbmid 24 LCD Monitor is 30% off, $139.99 on Newegg.
— The Motorola SB6141 SURFboard DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem is $89.99 with free shipping on Newegg s ebay page.
— Get the HP Omen 15XT Touch Gaming Laptop for $1674.99 with free shipping coupon code PC599Q4
— Get Bastion for $3.75 over at Gamersgate.com.
— Steamworld Dig is 75% off, $2.49 on Steam, for the next 48 hours only.
— Ubisoft is having a weeklong sale on Gamersgate.com on a bunch of games, including Watch Dogs, Rayman Legends, and Trials Fusion.
— The Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm expansion is $16.97 at Gamestop.
— Majesty Gold is only $2 on GreenManGaming.com after a using the coupon code NOVEMB-ERGMGX-20XOFF
For more tech deals, visit techbargains.com.
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