PC Gamer

You'd think given the time period it's set that the Hotline Miami 2 Collector's Edition would, instead of vinyl, feature a selection of cassette tapes. Sure, cassette tapes were the single worst audio format known to humankind—but then, what's more likely to get its owner fired up for some murderous action? Nice, reliable, audiophile-argument-causing vinyl, or a format that condemned its owner to a lifetime of using pencils to wind up easily breakable strips of magnetic data?

Vinyl it is, then. As well as 28 tracks across three-discs, the Collector's Edition feature a Steam download code for Hotline Miami 2, as well as a digital version of the soundtrack.

Despite the $60 price tag, Dennaton Games isn't revealing what's on the soundtrack, saying they don't want to spoil the surprise. A few artists have been announced, including Hotline Miami 1's M|O|O|N, El Huervo and Perturbator, and HM first-timers Megadrive and Magic Sword.

Okay, so no tracklist. How about a release date? Not quite. "This set will ship out in Q1 2015," explains the store page, "right before the game is released." With luck, that means we'll have our hands on the game before April next year.

PC Gamer

Is permadeath an attractive back-of-the-box feature? It is, after all, pretty easy to simulate. Die? Delete your save file. Permadeath.

Nevertheless, for those of us who can't be trusted to follow our self-set rules, permadeath forms the bases of Far Cry 4's upcoming DLC add-on. Escape From Durgesh Prison starts you with one life, no weapons, a bunch of optional side-quests, and a mission to get the hell out. Also: you're against the clock.

"After Ajay and Hurk wake up in Yuma s prison," exposits a press release, "stripped of all their weapons, they will need to complete challenges to find new weapons and unlock skills. Take your time to plan and be careful, but not too much time because the clock is still ticking and you need to reach the extraction point."

It's a challenge mode, essentially, with leaderboards to determine who among your friends is the best at not being murdered by assault-rifle-carrying jerks and/or tigers.

Escape From Durgesh Prison comes out 13 January, and'll cost $10 for those not armed with a season pass.

PC Gamer

 

It's tempting to describe Minecraft's ascent as a "rags to riches" tale, but Notch was never in rags. One thing's for certain though: Notch did not own a $70m megamansion in Beverly Hills five years ago. Nobody could have anticipated that.

It's true though: according to a report over at Curbed, the former Mojang boss now owns a house most of us could only dream of building in Minecraft. The report breathlessly lists off some of the home's features, including "a candy room, a car showroom, vodka and tequila bars, a 54-foot curved glass door that opens onto the pool, eight bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, apartment-sized closets, and a movie theater."

You read correctly: the house has 15 bathrooms. It was also bid on by Beyonce and Jay-Z in what Notch's  representatives describe as the "highest price paid for a house in Beverly Hills". Considering the inclusion of M&Ms towers and "giant Grenade art", I'd hazard that the price is just right.

It's not the first time Notch has purchased something very expensive: he paid $45k for a rare Aphex Twin album earlier this year.

Photo via Curbed.

PC Gamer

Divinity: Original Sin was a pretty fantastic game by just about any measure, but Larian Studios boss Swen Vincke wasn't entirely happy with it. In fact, he spent a full paragraph of his most recent blog post knocking the story, combat, interface, dialog, loot system, high-level character progression, and a number of other aspects. The problem, he said, was primarily due to a lack of "development capacity," which forced a number of compromises on the game. To avoid that in future projects, Larian is expanding.

Vincke revealed that the studio has begun work on two new RPGs, both of which will use the engine created for Divinity: Original Sin, which is one of the reasons work on that game is continuing. "It means that whatever we fix in D:OS, will automatically be present in our new RPGs. It also means that we can spend most of our resources on developing new cool stuff without having to reinvent things that worked well already," he wrote. "And it immediately gives us a rationale for putting unreasonable amounts of effort in fixing the things we didn t do that well in D:OS, meaning our existing players will continue to get improved gameplay for as long as we can maintain compatibility."

To support that effort, Larian is increasing its headcount and opening a new office in Quebec City to take advantage of "the experience and talent that s running around there." Vincke acknowledged being "quite apprehensive" about the move, but said, "The commercial success of D:OS has given us an opportunity to make true some of our bigger RPG ambitions and I ll be damned if we don t seize that chance. Going all-in paid off in the past so we might as well try again."

Vincke asked players to continue providing feedback on Original Sin, and to sound off about what they'd like to see in future games as well. He also reposted a "year in review" video that emphasizes the impact of player input on the development of the game—and that hints at at least one more big change coming in the future.

PC Gamer

In keeping with its efforts to offer an authentic WW1 trench warfare simulator, Verdun studios M2H and Blackmill Games will host special truce Christmas events in-game this month. This is in keeping with the historical truce between French, German and British troops during Christmas 1914, where soldiers downed weapons in order to share Christmas carols and, reportedly, play some friendly matches of football. 

You'll still be able to engage in bloody military warfare, but the truce scenarios will play out between matches from December 18 until Christmas day. During the scenarios players can play football or engage in jovial snowball warfare. 

The events will be complimented with a series of competitions, detailed below. 

  • 19 December; a YouTube Christmas Truce video contest for the best video about this event
  • 20 December; a Steam Hub screenshot competition for the best in-game Christmas Truce screenshot
  • 21 December; a Twitch TV giveaway for the Verdun streamers
  • 22 December; a Twitter competition for the best WW1 Christmas carol text twittered @VerdunGame
  • 23 December; a Facebook Christmas Card contest for the most entertaining Verdun best wishes card  
PC Gamer

The December update of Clockwork Empires is now live, complete with a trailer illustrating a new and interesting way for things to go terribly wrong in your poorly-located Steampunk colony.

The December update introduces new Naturalist behavior that will have them explore, study nature, and find artifacts—not necessarily a good thing—and adds laboratories and Scientists to study them. In a possibly-related development, you may also notice that your colonists start transforming into monstrous creatures under certain circumstances. As well, buildings and modules may now be dismantled, and you can use prestige to call in supplies, skilled workers, or (if you have no prestige), extra criminals.

"These don't feel at first glance feel like 'positive' feature developments, but what they do is introduce the essential element of iteration," Gaslamp Games wrote in its development progress report. "Alongside this we wanted to introduce some fun themed gameplay elements, so we've fleshed out the behavior of Naturalist characters, added the Laboratory along with Scientists and Laboratory Assistants to work in them, and sprinkled the world with Strange Artifacts to discover, study for prestige, and possibly (probably) make things go Terribly Wrong with."

A number of smaller fixes and changes are also included with the update—you can see the full breakdown here—and of course there's this trailer, which is my favorite part of the whole thing. Merry Fishmas, everyone!

PC Gamer
PC Gamer

Ever wanted to mount your PC components to the wall, like some sort of souped-up game-powering fuse box? Then Lian Li's new O Series is for you.

Recently announced, the O Series is an open-air PC chassis designed to make it easy to secure your components in an aesthetically pleasing spot—even mounted on the wall. It comes in four different form factors: the mini-ITX PC-05 and PC-05S, micro-ATX PC-06S, and ATX PC-07S (the S denotes water-cooling compatibility.)

The four models are relatively similar in design, despite their different form factors. All four maintain a slim build by installing graphics cards parallel to the motherboard via a PCI riser card and extension, and they all feature an oversized tempered glass window to easily view all the pretty components inside. You are hanging it on your wall, after all.

The bizarre hybrid of wall art and PC enclosure doesn't come cheap, though. The O Series is expected to launch in the US in February starting at $289.

PC Gamer

Spintires is an off-road driving simulator in which you take hard-as-nails Soviet-era vehicles on excursions through the rugged Russian wilderness. The outstanding physics make for a very realistic simulation of hardcore off-roading, but as a game, it doesn't have a whole lot else going on. You're not racing for the flag against other players or hurrying to evacuate Strelok from the Exclusion Zone; you're just driving around muddy woods. Andy Kelly said in his June review that it felt like an Early Access game because its scope is so limited, and now it appears that it could stay that way forever.

In a message posted on the Russian social network VK and translated on Steam, developer Pavel Zagrebelnyj accused UK-based publisher Oovee of taking the money and skipping town, leaving him unable to update the game. "Sad news... just seemed like the development process started, I almost finished my map and tools to develop mods (free upgrade)... as our Englishmen from oovee together with the loot disappeared," he said. "I don't have permissions to upload the update to Steam. So now I'll complete and release map editor, in the version it is now, and this will be end of Spintires."

He also claimed that Oovee was deleting his posts from its official English-language forum, effectively cutting him off from a large part of his audience. Oovee, however, has denied the allegations, saying Zagrebelnyj has been paid in full and that there is no breach of contract on either side. It also expressed hope that development will resume soon, and said that talks to expand the team to allow for faster and more wide-ranging development were also planned.

"Unfortunately there have been some communication issues recently which appear to have lead to this post being made by Pavel on the Russian forum," it wrote on its own forums. "Oovee has not been notified of any contract terminations or anything of that matter—a discussion will be held on the subject to rectify any misunderstandings."

As for future updates, it added, "As Oovee owns the rights to Spintires, we have no plans of our own to halt and/or cease to develop the game further."

Zagrebelnyj said he still holds the rights to the technology and source code, however, and may use that to create another, similar game. 

PC Gamer

Evolve is a game about a team of hunters taking down 30-foot-tall mega-monsters, "team" being the operative word. But there may be times when you can't, or simply don't want to, bother yourself with the presence of other actual human beings, even for the noble goal of blowing monsters into gooey chunks. Which may lead you to wonder if Evolve can be played offline, all by your lonesome—and the answer to that question is yes, it most definitely can.

The ability to play solo "was always part of the plan," Chris Ashton of Turtle Rock Studios explained on the Evolve website. "Playing Evolve competitively, against other players online, can be a lot of pressure. We wanted to make sure anyone could play the whole game, including Evacuation, alone, with, or against the AI and it s still fun."

In gameplay terms, the solo mode will be essentially the same as the multiplayer mode, with bots controlling the other hunters on the team. In that sense, it's similar to Turtle Rock's previous game, Left 4 Dead, but solo players will also be able to swap hunters on the fly, allowing them to control all aspects of the battle.

Having to actually disable your internet connection, as demonstrated in the very brief offline mode tutorial, is a bit clunky, but it's also coming out of the back of a console, which at least leaves open the possibility that the PC version will provide a more elegant solution. Either way, the important thing is that if you don't want to be online, you don't have to be online. 

Turtle Rock recently revealed the third member of Evolve's monstrous triumvirate, the Wraith, which you can read more about here. Evolve comes out on February 10, 2015.

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