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PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Metro: Last Light studio boss expresses profound regret over leaving Ukraine">Photo via Sergei Klimov: @sergeiklimov

Photo via Twitter user @sergeiklimov

Metro: Last Light developer 4A Games announced in May that it was relocating its headquarters to Malta, which "offers fantastic incentives for game development" as a member state of the European Union, which its homeland of Ukraine is not. And while it wasn't mentioned in the announcement, Russia's ongoing incursion into the country was no doubt also a factor in the decision to pull up stakes. But a statement released by studio chief Andrew Prokhorov makes it clear that the decision to leave wasn't an easy one.

"Dear motherland, this morning we're leaving you for some time," Prokhorov wrote in a Facebook post translated for Polygon by Sergey Galyonkin of Wargaming.net. "Not because we don't love you, but because we have to otherwise 4A Games will cease to exist it's really hard to get investors while we're at war with . We can understand publishers, but our hearts are sorrow and we feel like betrayers, because we're leaving our country in turmoil. We're not betrayers, we love you, Ukraine and we'll have with us a new part of Ukraine in not so distant Malta. 4A Games Malta is a Ukrainian company."

He concluded with a message that was initially seen by some as provocative, but which Galyonkin clarified is a "traditional" phrase in the Ukrainian military: "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes! Death to enemies!"

With the Malta relocation complete, it's unclear whether 4A's studio in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev is still in operation. The initial announcement of the move said it would remain open and even expand, but the conflict with Russia is growing worse and Prokhorov's statement has a distinct feeling of "farewell."
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Valve chosen as the most desirable place to work in game developer survey">Team Fortress 2

The sky is blue, the grass is green and Valve is a popular destination for game makers looking for work: So declares the IGDA, which, in what may be the least-surprising news of the month, revealed that game developers would rather work for the Half-Life and Steam developer than anywhere else including for themselves.

The list is a mish-mash of massive publishers and individual studios, but the sentiment is clear enough and the top four are obvious choices. I'm a little surprised that Ubisoft is ranked so highly and as a PC guy, I'd also drop Nintendo and Naughty Dog from the list in favor of CD Projekt Red and Eidos Montreal, or maybe Larian; Remedy, and Frozenbyte could also easily make the list. But it's not at all surprising that Valve is Numero Uno; it's maybe not quite the paradise it's sometimes made out to be, but it sure sounds better than most.

The rankings in full, as provided by Gamespot:

1. Valve

2. My own company

3. Activision Blizzard

4. BioWare

5. Ubisoft

6. Current employer

7. Nintendo

8. Naughty Dog

9. Double Fine

10. Bethesda Game Studios

Any egregious oversights?
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Deus Ex, Neverwinter Nights 2 developers unveil Sienna Storm, a super-spy adventure card game">613e978a3c5702274d9628d9a220c7e2_large

Sienna Storm is a "unique interactive comic-style videogame" being developed by a new studio headed by veterans of Deus Ex, Neverwinter Nights 2 and the Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game. It's a tale about a retired black ops mercenary whose former life leaves him ensnared in a global conspiracy, and while that has an obvious Deus Ex ring to it, the Star Wars Galaxies TCG angle is important too. The game's "challenges" combat, hacking computers, that sort of thing will be resolved by way of a "short strategic card game using a customizable deck." And as is the fashion these days, its makers are now seeking support on Kickstarter.

It's hard to nail down exactly what Sienna Storm will be like based on the initial Kickstarter pitch, but it's clear that the trading card element will be central to the actual gameplay. "At the start of each card match, you can modify your deck to best suit the situation, even adding in new cards you've earned over the course of the game. This allows you to pick a strategy trickery, gadgetry, or straight-up violence that works best for the mission and your personal play style," it explains. "But watch out! The matches are dynamic and based on the story, so you never know what new enemies, old allies, or dramatic plot twists are in the cards to keep you on your toes!"

Sienna Storm will offer "an engaging non-linear story set in modern day that has a variety of outcomes based on your decisions and actions." Everything is hand-drawn the images on Kickstarter are in-game art, not concepts and it promises a high degree or replayability thanks to branching dialog and choices that "not only have consequences, but also influence your standings with certain characters and involved parties."

It's all a bit vague, including the pitch video, which focuses solely on the narrative setup rather than the gameplay; so is the "Risks and challenges" section, which says nothing about the current state of the game or what obstacles it might actually face. The team is seeking $179,000, but it's setting its sights higher right out of the gate: A $260,000 stretch goal will see Deus Ex composer Alex Brandon join the team, while Obsidian's Chris Avellone will come on board as a "creative consultant" at $370,000. The physical rewards offered in the top pledge tier are also dependent upon those stretch goals being hit, the first one for the mouse pad and the second for the coffee mug. The Sienna Storm Kickstarter runs until September 18; the game's estimated delivery date is listed as December 2015.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to 10 essential Windows 7 applications">windows7-7zip

Windows 8.1 has been out since October 2013, but we still cling to our installs of Windows 7. We love its reliability, even if it's missing some of Windows 8's under-the-hood improvements. If you're also still using Windows 7, your gaming PC is probably loaded with years of accumulated software. But are you using the best? Our colleagues at TechRadar put together a list of the best free programs for Windows 7, and we've boiled that list down to the 10 programs we think are essentials. If you don't have these programs installed already, here's why you should download them.

1. CCleaner

Who doesn't love a clean computer? Even if you religiously empty your recycle bin and clean out your browser cache, there are still files that pile up in Windows that you can do without. Running CCleaner every few months will keep your system clear of temporary files and error logs and leftover registry strings. If you're running Windows on an SSD, you may be surprised by how much vital space you free up with CCleaner, and a system cleanup only takes about a minute.

Download CCleaner

2. Notepad++

Even if you're not a programmer by trade, Notepad++ is a great piece of software to have on your computer. It vastly expands on the basics of Notepad with tabs, powerful search, a customizable GUI, and support for multiple programming languages. It knows how to parse code and linebreaks and can make a jumbled mass of text into something perfectly readable. It can also add a handy link to your Windows context menu for quickly opening up text files. If your text editing needs are modest, you'll appreciate Notepad++'s speed and accessibility. If you need to do heavy-duty coding work, you'll love the depth of its options menus and how customizable it is. An absolute must-have.

Download Notepad++

3. 7-Zip

You're probably already using 7-Zip. You are, right? Right? In the land of zipping, 7-Zip is king. Small, unobtrusive, but able to zip or unzip every format under the sun, with great context menu support thrown in to make it even faster. We've got nothing against WinRAR--it's perfectly fine! But you know, don't you get tired of that pop-up asking you to pay? 7-Zip doesn't want your money. It just wants to unzip things for you. Won't you let it?

Download 7-Zip

4. Adobe Reader

Adobe software has a reputation for bloat, and it's true that there are lighter PDF applications out there. Foxit's PDF Reader, for example, is a good tool if you only need to read PDFs. But if you ever need to edit PDFs, Acrobat Reader gets the job done. It's free, includes easy tools for adding text or a signature to a document. It can also export as a Word document or

Download Adobe Reader

5. Defraggler

Windows 7 does a good job of automatically defragmenting your harddrives quietly in the background. Most likely, your drives are trucking along just fine without you manually defragging them. But sometimes--after moving a ton of files, or making space on an overly full hard drive--you want to do some manual defragging. Defraggler, from the creators of CCleaner, will do the trick. More importantly, it can do targeted defragmenting. You can see what files or drive sectors are fragmented, and specifically defragment those, without waiting two hours for your entire drive to be cleaned up.

Download Defraggler

6. Recuva

Recuva is a handy tool to have around when things go south. You accidentally delete a file, and Recuva can help you get it back. It's designed to help with a simple undelete, or to go digging for files that may still be accessible even after you've formatted a disk. Recuva can also help with the opposite task: if you have a file you really want to erase, Recuva can help securely overwrite that file's spot on the hard disk to make it much tougher to recover.

Download Recuva

7. VLC Media Player

If VLC can't play it, it's probably broke. That's not VLC's slogan, but it may as well be. This free, open source video player comes with built-in video codecs for just about any file format imaginable. It's simple. It's powerful. It's an absolute essential video player, and is constantly dueling for my affection with the also-great Media Player Classic. VLC offers a couple extra features that I love: it can crank volume up to the 200% mark, which is important for quieter files, and it can easily adjust audio playback speed, which makes it a handy tool for transcribing. It may be the best video player on PC, but it's good for audio, too!

Download VLC Media Player

8. Handbrake

You've got an .avi that needs to be an .mp4. Or an .mp4 that needs to be an .mkv. What do you do? You could mess around with heavy-duty video editing software or one of a million crappy website transcoding options that don't work very well. Or you could simply download Handbrake, and it'll solve all your problems. This open source transcoder is easy to use--you can drag a file into it, set a few quality options, and hit the big green start button--and it'll fix up any video file as a shiny new .mp4 or .mkv. If you do any video editing, Handbrake should be in your arsenal.

Download Handbrake

9. Google Chrome

We use Chrome. You probably use Chrome. Google's browser has grown from a scrappy Firefox alternative into the de facto web browser, and it's still the one we install for our parents or grab first thing when we have a clean Windows machine. There have been some bumps along the road in Chrome's development--sometimes it gets slow or crashy for a release or two--but it's hard to imagine living without some of its features, like tab and password syncing between desktop and laptop and smartphone.

Download Google Chrome

10. LastPass

Unless you already use a password manager or have an incredible memory, you probably overuse the same password on too many websites. Most of us do! It's okay: you can make things better before a hacker waltzes off with all your personal information. Using LastPass is a great starting point. The free service lets you create a master password, then creates strings of gibberish for all of your accounts, so you never have to worry about one website breach compromising all of your information. LastPass will also remember an autofill all your passwords, and you can install it on multiple devices to keep the sign-in process easy. It's a painless password manager to use, and will make your data far more secure. You've got nothing to lose.

Dowload LastPass
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Metro: Last Light Redux review">Metro Last Light redux 1

By Jem Alexander.

The reworked version of Metro 2033 in Metro: Last Light's far superior engine makes perfect sense. It offered a chance for 4A Games to go back and fix a ton of things that have been bugging them. To act on lessons learnt from their mistakes the first time round.

The Redux version of Last Light is pretty much the same game as last year.

And so, here we are. Facing a re-release of a game little more than a year old. A re-release that offers little extra to PC gamers whose rigs were up to the task of running it the first time, that looks almost identical to the version you played last May.

In fact, where Metro 2033 Redux is a lovingly improved version of the original, Metro Last Light Redux is little more than a GOTY version. It includes every piece of DLC released to date and some of the additional weapons have been integrated into the single player story.

Visually the games are practically the same. I played the original and the Redux version alternately, chapter by chapter, and found it easy to forget which version I was playing at any given moment. Not to say that Metro Last Light Redux is bad looking. As I say, the original is less than a year old, so it's still a fantastic-looking game. Which is why it doesn't need a remaster.

With so much special attention given to Metro 2033 Redux however, Last Light Redux isn t nearly as essential by comparison. Which is fitting, since it's also the worse game of the two. It's a fine shooter, but fans of the original's survival horror feel were disappointed by the sequel's focus on bombastic combat and boss fights over survival and atmosphere.

A new "Survivor" mode does its best to recreate that feel of Metro 2033 by making ammo more scarce and enemies more aggressive, but it feels little more than an attempt at a quick fix solution. Your mileage may vary on this. Some of you may prefer Last Light's feel. For those that want it, there's a new "Spartan" mode available in Metro 2033 Redux which emulates Last Light's combat system. Be aware that I will judge you for using it.

It makes sense for Metro Last Light Redux to exist on consoles, with locked 60fps framerate and higher resolution being the main selling points. Obviously this doesn t really impact PC owners. If you've not played Last Light before then Redux is worth picking up. It saves you some money over the original version, but if you already own the game there's very little to draw you back and buy it again. Unless you really want another set of Steam achievements.


Expect to pay: 17 / $25 (50% off if you own the original)

Release: August 29th

Developer: 4A Games

Publisher: Deep Silver

Multiplayer: None

Link: http://enterthemetro.com/
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Hellgate tries its luck with Steam Greenlight">steamworkshop_webupload_previewfile_298851137_preview

Remember Hellgate: London? It was a near-future action-RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world shattered by an invasion of demons. The focus was on single-player gameplay but there was a strong multiplayer element to it as well, with PvP action and instanced, team-based quests. It was a cool idea (I thought so, anyway) but the execution faltered, and the servers were taken offline in early 2009. It was resurrected as a free-to-play online game a few years ago, but that didn't gain any traction with North American audiences either. Now it's taking a run at Steam.

I'm really not sure what to make of this. The cinematic on the Steam Greenlight page is a re-post of a trailer that's at least three years old, and the most recent "news" on T3Fun's official Hellgate site is from 2011. There are more recent "announcements," but they appear to be nothing but notifications of server maintenance. The Hellgate Facebook page, meanwhile, has a few post from this month leading up to the Greenlight announcement, but prior to that there's one from July, four from June (which are related to Football Club Manager rather than Hellgate), and then nothing until January of 2013.

Furthermore, while the Greenlight page is for "Hellgate," it's also described in one instance as Hellgate Global, which includes "most of the previous version features together with the following updates brought by the Tokyo Patch," those being a new storyline and three new gameplay modes. But the Tokyo patch was actually announced in 2009, and was part of the Hellgate: Resurrection project that, according to Wikipedia, underwent a very brief closed beta test in North America back in 2011.

There is, understandably, a good bit of confusion surrounding Hellgate's appearance on Greenlight. Some fans are defending the original release while others decry it as a cash-grab on the back of a game that's been utterly ignored for three years, but the one question that everyone seems to be asking is, "Why now?" A "yes" vote is harmless enough it isn't a commitment to buy but given that the three-year-old Tokyo update is the latest-and-greatest thing that the Greenlight campaign has to offer, it's hard to imagine that Hellgate will see any significant updates if and when it makes it to Steam. And that makes it hard to imagine that anyone is going to care.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Metro 2033 Redux review">Metro 2033 redux 1

By Jem Alexander.

For years Metro 2033 was used as a benchmark test for the latest graphics cards, so it feels strange to already be seeing a remastered version hit the digital shelves. It s easy to be cynical and assume that Metro 2033 Redux is aimed squarely at the console market, whose under-TV boxes have only just caught up with Metro 2033 s full majesty. It s finally a way for living-room dwellers to see what the game is like with all its video options switched on. But what s the value for PC players?

Well, Metro 2033 Redux is an honest to goodness, genuine remaster. A collection of tweaks and polishes, do-overs and rejigs that elevates the game to even greater heights, this is a full visual revamp that brings it in line with Last Light in terms of graphical tech.

If you haven t played Metro 2033 before, this will now be the best place to start. It s post-apocalyptic FPSing at its finest, with a uniquely grim backdrop and appropriately negative portrayal of mankind in the midst of that. The premise of Metro is that the surface of Earth is scorched and irradiated, so the people of Moscow live within the tunnels of the metro (hey, that s the name of the game!) while the Dark Ones above their heads plot against them.

A feature which gives you the option of bartering high-grade ammunition for better guns/upgrades or using them to, you know, shoot mutants is a standout innovation that creates tension in how you approach combat. Scarcity of ammo is a staple of the survival horror genre, but never before has finding a stash of bullets prompted such an internal conflict.

For a game with a grim colour filter, 2010 s 2033 was also remarkably pretty. 2014 s version is a marked difference. I m not talking a little texture upgrade here, I m talking new meshes, new animations and reworked environments. Metro 2033 Redux is Metro 2033 tweaked and polished to a high standard; this feels like the definitive version of the game 4A originally wanted to make.

Even down to the main menu screen. It s the same, but vastly improved. It s not like the old one is looking particularly weathered, it s just that the difference in production values here make it worth paying for again.

There are other smaller changes to the Redux edition. Cutscenes have been reworked so that the camera never leaves protagonist Artyom s perspective. Again, there was nothing wrong with wresting the non-interactive viewpoint away from the player from time to time in 2033, but such a change demonstrates that this is closer to their vision of how this story should be told. In such a tense, atmospheric game heightening the player s engagement with the narrative like this just feels like common sense.

4A has revisited every aspect of 2033, evident in the improved lighting and weather effects, the expanded environments, added secrets or even the addition of some of Metro: Last Light s better features, like weapon customisation.

So is it worth buying again? Absolutely. Especially since you can grab Metro 2033 Redux for half price on Steam if you already own Metro 2033. If you don t already own it, then $24.99/ 17 for an excellent game that you should have played by now anyway is a pretty damn good deal.


Expect to pay: 17 / $25 (50% off if you own the original)

Release: August 29th

Developer: 4A Games

Publisher: Deep Silver

Multiplayer: None

Link: http://enterthemetro.com/
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer preview: robo-suits, new maps and an advanced wardrobe">Call of Duty Advanced Warfare 1

Comparisons to Titanfall were inevitable after Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer was revealed last week, but Sledgehammer have been playing with Advanced Warfare's jump-thrust move shortly after finishing work on Modern Warfare 3 in 2011, and Tribes fans will tell you that Titanfall hardly has dibs on the jetpack shooter. While the new exoskeleton movement options are interesting, I'm more excited about what they can do to refresh the design of Call of Duty's multiplayer maps.

The Call of Duty multiplayer experience has remained largely unchanged since the dawn of the Modern Warfare era. The opportunistic run-and-gun through flat, crumbling maps started to feel rote back in Black Ops 2, a game that could have done with a map like Advanced Warfare's Riot. Granted, it's also a crumbling concrete facility a prison, in fact but it's built around tiered structures and guard towers that make use of the exoskeleton's new jumping abilities. Like a couple of the other maps Sledgehammer showed, there's a quirk: The prison's high tech inmate monitoring system is still active, which means sensors at the top of guard towers draw laser pointers to passing soldiers.

Riot was actually one of the plainer maps. The others showed at Gamescom move away from the bleached urban aesthetic to something shinier, reminiscent of some of CoD's quirkier, more colourful DLC packs. There's a map set in the terminal of a space elevator which is bright, airy and layered with gantries and intricate spaceport corridors. Advanced Warfare will include a mode that bans exosuits, but I wonder if these maps will still be fun if you're flightless. The need to cater to the legions of fans who love the standard CoD formula is understandable, but once you've experienced extra speed and super-jumps bursts of flight, why go back?

This year you can customise your soldier with with dozens of facemasks, armour plates and colour schemes and tailor your loadout with a "pick 13" system, mirroring Black Op's "pick 10". You get 13 points you can devote to weapon attachments, special exosuit abilities like cloaks and shields, and kill streak rewards. More options can be unlocked by ranking up.

Leveling systems in shooters can hide the game's most interesting weapons and strategies behind layers of grind (see Battlfield, Payday 2), but the sheer amount of stuff packed into Advanced Warfare's customisation system is encouraging. As long as the leveling curve is fast, the expanded unlock system could provide valuable context and rewards for each 10-20 minute battle for those who don't care about 'prestiging' the practice of reaching the CoD's level cap and then resetting for a badge.

I'm quite excited about Advanced Warfare this year, for the multiplayer, at least. The single player may have Spacey, but in spite of the high-tech gubbins the set pieces look samey and predictable. I've never had a fun game of Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline leaves me cold and Titanfall is great, but lacks staying power. CoD could sweep the board this year. On the multiplayer side, it's the most exciting entry in the series for years.

Advanced Warfare is due out on November 4.

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Now Playing Live! Elite: Dangerous livestream from 3PM BST">elitesplash_610

As we announced yesterday, we'll shortly be taking to space to blow each other to pieces in the Elite: Dangerous beta. Expect dogfights, chases, and cameo appearances from the game's developers. The stream begins at 3PM BST and will run for a maximum of two hours.

The setup is this. Andy Kelly is flying an Anaconda, the game's most powerful ship. In his cargo hold are five bars of gold. The first person to snatch a piece of that gold and return it to the pirate haven of Freeport is our winner. If you're blown up, you're out, and if all of us die or if nobody can best him after two hours Andy wins. The PC Gamer team are all flying our own, mostly low-level ships. To have a chance at taking down the Anaconda, we'll need to work together but when the dust settles there can only be one winner.

The developers, Frontier, are the wildcard. They're free to involve themselves however they wish: to assist Andy, simply swing by to chat, or to compete for the bounty themselves. All we know about Andy is his route. Every player will have this printed out and pinned next to our monitor, allowing to track him as he races from destination to destination.

On the main PC Gamer stream, embedded below, you can watch the action from Tom's perspective. He's relatively new to Elite, but he's in a position to answer questions and he's likely to be in the middle of any uneasy alliances that form at the beginning of the hunt. He's flying a Sidewinder, which he has decided to call 'Eggs Benedict Cumberbatch'.

Watch live video from PCGamer on www.twitch.tv

You can also follow Andy and the other hunters on their own streams. Their details are as follows:

Andy Kelly: twitch.tv/ultrabrilliant | Ship: Anaconda, 'The Mountain'

Chris Thursten: twitch.tv/exitwarp | Ship: Viper, 'Star Wizard'

Samuel Roberts: twitch.tv/samuelwroberts | Ship: Sidewinder, 'Tony Hadley's Hope'

Phil Savage: twitch.tv/octaeder | Ship: Sidewinder, 'Sidewinder 2: Space Boogaloo'

Ben Griffin: twitch.tv/pcg_gamegriffin | Ship: Sidewinder, 'The Smiths'

You can also use a dual streaming site to watch multiple POVs at once. To watch Andy and Tom, for example, you'd go here. If you're REALLY lucky, you'll get to hear all of the hammering and drilling that somebody has seemingly decided to do in the office today. See you at 3PM.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Blizzard on World of Warcraft’s subscriber count: “we really don’t know if it will grow again”">WoWDraenor-image

While there's no shortage of interest in World of Warcraft's remaining subscriber count, it's important to remember that the game still has a lot of players. Put it this way: if you once had 12 million slices of cake and you now have only 6.8 million, the result is still you in the corner of the room, shivering in a growing pile of vomit. Despite this, Blizzard say they don't necessarily expect their cake player count to grow.

"We really don t know if it will grow again, said lead game designer Tom Chilton in an interview with MCV. "It is possible, but I wouldn t say it s something that we expect. Our goal is to make the most compelling content we can."

"By building expansions, you are effectively building up barriers to people coming back. But by including the level 90 character with this expansion, it gives people the opportunity to jump right into the new content."

It's an interesting point, and one that I'm sure holds some truth. However, part of Warlords of Draenor's aim seems to be recapturing the attention of former subscribers both in setting, story and design. As Chris Metzen said during the Gamescom release date reveal, "the age of the whimsical panda is over. Warcraft of old is back."

Thanks, PCGamesN.

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