Valentine's Day isn't usually synonymous with charging monsters and punch-packing rocket launchers, but that's the direction Indie Royale have taken with their Valentine's Bundle 2.0. Serious Sam 3: BFE headlines the six-game selection. I guess those screaming headless bomb-arm guys really were just trying to give you a hug.
Also included in the bundle is the tower-defence game Shad'O, 2D platformer Oozi: Earth Adventure, 2D platformer Lunnye Devitsy, 2D platformer Wake, and 2D puzzle-platformer Doc Clock and the Toasted Sandwich of Time. If nothing else, it's a love letter to fans of 2D platformers.
As always, the bundle price will fluctuate over the next week - rising as more people buy, but lowering in response to generous donations. The current minimum is £3.72, which isn't bad for the tender company of viscera-chasing demons.
In a post on this Steam forum thread about a new Serious Sam 3 patch, Croteam's CTO Alen Ladavac has spoken out against Microsoft's latest Windows revision, describing the Metro/tiled UI's Windows Store restrictions as a "horrible" idea, and blasting the certification process currently being used to keep certain mature games off the Store.
After the dreaded 'W' and, er, '8' words were brought up in the thread - specifically in regards to problems a player was having running Serious Sam 3 in Windows 8 - Ladavac responded by expressing his concerns about the service, after apologising for "keeping off topic". His biggest complaint was that "one cannot release a tiled UI application by any other means, but only through Windows Store," referring to the interface-formally-known-as-Metro's disregard for any program/game that doesn't meet their strict requirements. To clarify: Windows 8 itself won't restrict you from installing certain games/programs, they just won't show up in its primary interface.
Ladavac took exception to this, stating that "if it was just about 'being downloaded from Windows store', it would not be a problem. It would be nice to have a common hub to download things from. But to get an app onto that store, it has to be certified by MS. This means bringing the 'console experience' onto your desktop. Each app that you will get through the Windows Store will have to adhere to certain requirements imposed by MS." He went on to shake his fist at the age restrictions that have kept games like Dishonored and Skyrim off the Windows Store, at least in the short term.
Thankfully, that policy has been reversed by Microsoft, although it's worth noting that the Windows 8 app certification requirements still state that any applications "with a rating over PEGI 16, ESRB MATURE, or that contain content that would warrant such a rating, are not allowed." In any case, the games haven't appeared on the store yet.
The suggestion that a hypothetical Windows 9 may block off side-loading entirely (loading programs outside of the tiled UI) is entirely speculative, but much of what Ladavac says chimes with what other outspoken developers, and Valve, have been saying for months now. As PCGamesN explained earlier today, they've been putting their considerable weight behind Linux instead, the beta of which opened just last week.
The problem with Serious Sam 3's rocket launcher is that it looks too much like a rocket launcher, rather than, say, a disconcertingly headless enemy that fits in the palm of your hand like a particularly grisly Polly Pocket. Thank heavens then for the Pet Scrapjack mod, and for Steam Workshop in general, which has welcomed Serious Sam 3 into its moddable embrace.
Highlights so far include the aforementioned Scrapjack, the gentlemanly Sir Buttersworth mod, and, er, a map based on the Ben Stiller film Night at the Museum. If that's inspired you to make your own, based on Meet the Parents or even There's Something About Mary, Croteam have helpfully created a guide to putting the thing online. In the meantime, this cheery little headless fella clearly needs to be in everyone's game. Chop chop.
The video above shows off Croteam's ingenious DRM solution for Serious Sam 3: BFE. It's got nothing to do with secure-ROM, or product codes, or online validation. Instead, those who boot a pirated version of the game will find themselves hounded forever by a gigantic pink scorpion that can never be killed. The video above comes from RPS, who scooped it from DSO, and shows the terrifying thing in action. It might well be the most inventive DRM trick since Rocksteady coded Batman to forget how to glide in pirated versions of Arkham Asylum.
In a refreshing change to developers moaning about piracy levels on the PC, Serious Sam publisher Devolver Digital have given the platform a big bigging up. The company’s chief financial officer, Fork Parker, tweeted: “people will pay for awesome.”
Destructoid asked Parker for more comments, and he followed up with: "Piracy is a problem and there is no denying that but the success of games like Skyrim and our own Serious Sam 3 on PC illustrates that there is clearly a market willing to pay for PC games.”
As ever, it’s Valve’s Steam service - among others - that gets all the credit for reinvigorating the market. “In games,we have amazing PC digital download services like Steam, Get Games and Direct2Drive doing the same thing for games that iTunes did for music,” said Parker. “Offer the consumer a variety of great digital content at a reasonable price and the majority will happily pay for the games that suit their tastes.”
The bonkers shooter has had a peak of 1,815 players on Steam today, and is currently sitting at 38th in the Steam charts. But we reckon its nichey appeal, Steam’s ongoing epic sale and a little game known as Skyrim might have something to do with its low popularity.
Serious Sam 3: BFE will make a Big Fancy Entrance in four hours time. Croteam have broken recent trends by releasing a launch trailer on the day their game actually comes out, which is nice, and the video does a good job of showing just how serious Sam is about this one. He even does a swear, before obliterating a hundred monsters in slow motion with a rocket launcher. It looks like bloody good fun. There's still time to pre-order it on Steam and Direct2Drive at 10% off.
Serious Sam 3: Big Frigid Elephant was originally due to bring its old school big-guns-'n-a-million-monsters formula to our machines mid October. We'll have to wait a little longer, according to a message sent over from the devs. Serious Sam 3: Bouncing Fretful Elevator will now come out on November 22, and is available to pre-order with a 10% discount from Steam. "Chief creative guy" at Croteam, Davor Hunski explains that "the team wants to take a little extra time to make it perfect for Serious Sam fans worldwide.”
“The game is playing wonderfully and looks great so we are going through to balance the difficulty and fine tune the code to eliminate any technical issues at launch. And we’ll probably add some more enemies to the hordes to blow your mind,” he adds.
Sounds good. We look forward to trying out the 16 player co-op mode and blasting enormous enemies when Serious Sam 3: Bentley Fallout Extreme is released in ten weeks. But seriously, what does the BFE stand for? Croteam still haven't said.
Have you ever been playing Call of Duty when... OK, yeah, stupid question. Start again. DID you ever play Call of Duty once and think "Man, I really wish I wasn't shooting middle-eastern terrorists. I just want to shoot demonic freaks from Hell!"? Well your wish can come true if you head over to the severs of Doom II (yes, they're still there) where a mod is currently playing that adjusts sounds and gun models from the old 1990's originals to something with a bit more of a Modern Warfare flavour. Real Guns Advanced 2 can be found on Skulltag 220.127.116.11:10672.
Brett Sanderson. You probably wouldn't recognise him at first (on account that he doesn't have a face), but hang around him a little while and things will start to feel a bit more familiar. His identity will probably click around about the time when those two black metal balls he has in his hands explode, reducing you to little more than bonemeal and a splatter of crimson. "Oh yes!" you'll think in your last moments. "I remember you! You're THAT guy from Serious Sam! The one that screams and runs right at you!"
If you've played any old school Battlefield games, chances are there's a warm fuzzy place in your heart for Wake Island. One of DICE's most popular maps, it's getting a spectacular make over for Battlefield 3. Lesser known is the fact it's also getting a make over for Battlefield Heroes too, albeit one of a far more colourful nature. Cue that jolly whistling theme tune and Tonka toy Spitfires blasting each other apart over a very green looking island.
Far Cry 2 is beloved by several members of the PCG team, and for good reason. Despite the exceptionally annoying relentlessness of every enemy wanting your blood the moment they hear you step on a twig, it's a beautifully designed wonder that immerses you the the fullest extent possible. Far Cry 3 perhaps doesn't share its predecessors lofty ambition, but its recognition of FC2's short-comings means that it will be potentially the middle-ground between the first and second game's visions. A free-roaming tropical expanse that offers significant choice without making the exploration a grinding chore. This latest demo from behind the doors at E3 shows one of the numerous ways of tackling this scenario; making a spectacle by zip-lining into an enemy base whilst firing off rounds from a pistol. Kick-ass? We think so.
We love bombastic combat involving zip-lines, but going a slightly more tactical way is something we like to do too. That's the beauty of games; with just a disc swap or double click in Steam, we can experience entirely new combat scenarios. The one we'll soon be taking on is that of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and the latest Developer Diary focuses on the game's varied approach to combat. Showing off some close-quarters and ranged options, the video also demonstrates some of the user interface, and you can grab a look-see at the inventory (still sporting an old-school grid layout) and the upgrade screen where you'll spend your Praxis points on augmentations. The one where you can launch tiny mines from your limbs looks particularly attractive if you're into mass close-range slaughter.
Portal was arguably one of the most quoted games of 2007/8, with "The cake is a lie!" plastered on every forum in all corners of the interwebz. Portal 2 took on its older sibling's legacy with rants about potato power, but more popular was the fast-paced spiel from the game's various personality cores. You can listen to every quote from the Space sphere here, should your mind be able to cope with it.
Finally, do you love cats? Our editor Tim loves cats. He once told me in a pub how much he loves his cat. Well Tim, is your cat as bad-ass as Medal of Honor Cat? Well, is he? IS HE?
The debut trailer for Serious Sam 3: BFE is out, and it's... well it's very Serious Sam. There are hordes of monsters. They mostly run straight at you. You shoot them. Some of them are giant. Most of them die quickly, but there are always more. There's really not much more to say, Serious Sam has always been about old fashioned shooter fun and that's what you get here.
Serious Sam 3: BFE is due out 'this summer'. No-one actually knows what the 'BFE' stands for yet, what do you think readers?