It's a bit like Minecraft, quite a bit not like Minecraft, and it sure sounds like it's going to be big: earlier this month, SOE announced EverQuest Next Landmark, a surprise voxel building MMO releasing this winter as a precursor to EverQuest Next. Today at PAX we learned some new things about it—female dwarves can have beards, for insistence—which we've condensed here into an easily digestible info pill.
What was already exciting about Landmark is a building system that looks like painting in 3D, with scalable brushes and smoothing tools to create spherical surfaces. Today, Director of Development David Georgeson shared more about Landmark's scope, picking up where the debut announcement left off. Here's what we learned (some of which applies to EverQuest Next proper, too—like the beards):
Players will spawn near landmarks, protected areas which can be teleported to. They'll act as social hubs and player marketplaces—Georgeson hinted several times at a deep simulated economy during our meeting.
Players will then explore to gather resources, and stake a land claim (almost) anywhere on the procedurally-generated continents.
Most building resources will need to be purchased from other players or gathered, though there are "super commons," such as dirt, of which we'll always have an unlimited supply.
Can players stake claims in subterranean areas? "Probably," says Georgeson.
Land claims can be shared with friends for co-op builds.
Mounts are in, and they'll move like the player characters—sliding down steep hills, for instance. We won't see horses doing parkour though. Boo.
Above: A new video showing off more advanced movement tricks.
Players will be able to move between servers at any time.
Friends lists, text chat, voice chat, and SOEmote are all in.
A timelapse tool will allow players to record high-speed versions of their builds and publish them directly to YouTube.
There will be a guild system, as well as a "co-op buildout" system for temporarily grouping up to work together on large projects without a full guild structure.
Landmark characters will be transferable to EverQuest Next when it releases, and playing Landmark will unlock the Adventurer class.
Above: A timelapse video of a player quickly building out an environment.
We also found out some new things about the Player Studio integration. At the announcement, we learned that Landmark builders will be able to package and sell copies of their voxel creations on SOE's Player Studio, but Georgeson says that players will also be able sell their actual plot of land—its location and all its content—and suggests one could play Landmark like a real estate market. For real money. That's a slightly scary proposition, but in a good way.
If this is all new to you, read up on EverQuest Next and Landmark, which we wrote all about after the announcement at SOE Live earlier in August.
Aug 31, 2013
After a long period of relative silence, information is finally creeping out about the shape and state of BioWare's next major RPG. I saw Dragon Age Inquistion at an EA event in London earlier in the week, the same information that will have - as of the time this goes live - just been revealed at PAX. Here's a rundown of my first impressions of the game - which, although it's more than a year from release, is looking far more fleshed out than I expected.
Plot and companions
Inquisition is set a few years after the events of the two previous games. The world is in the middle of several wars - civil war in Orlais, and the ongoing conflict between the mages and Templars - that are snowballing into one another: kind of like a fantasy World War I. At the start of the game, a massive dimensional tear opens between reality and the Fade - the dream dimension that is the source of magic and that you'll have visited once or twice if you played the previous games. In order to find out who is responsible for the fade tear, a new faction is formed with your character as its leader. This is the Inquisition, and the way it is founded reminds me of the description of the founding of the Grey Wardens - a trans-national pact to solve a problem that each individual faction can't solve by itself.
In the first game you were the Warden, in the second you were the Champion, and in the third you'll be the Inquisitor. You'll be able to choose your race from human, elf, dwarf, and - for the first time - qunari. BioWare weren't willing to spill any details on how your characters' origin will be fleshed out beyond that.
There'll be a range of companions, and BioWare stressed that this involves a "significant returning cast". The in-game demonstration confirmed the return of Dragon Age 2's Varric - the dwarven rogue who narrates the game - and Cassandra Pentaghast, the Chantry Seeker who interrogates that narration out of him. The fourth companion shown was Vivienne, an Orlesian mage who, based on a snippet of in-game dialogue, was once First Enchanter of one of the Circles there.
Combat is still based on a four-person party, and you can still control any individual member as well as pause time and zoom out into a full top-down view. The impact of spells and melee strikes inherits a lot from Dragon Age 2, but what I saw had a greater sense of weight and impact - there were no arbitrarily exploding torsos, for one thing. The new game has been built in the Frostbite engine, and environments are partially destructible. We were shown a wooden bridge being destroyed to send some archers tumbling to their deaths, and smaller scenery items - barrels, barriers etc - can be blown up or cast aside by magic.
Tactics - the system by which friendly AI behaviours can be programmed - will return, and full friendly fire for magic will be an option for players that want it. Interestingly, health regeneration will be very limited: adventuring for any length of time will mean bringing healing supplies with you or having a mage with the right abilities on hand. It's nice to see these kinds of hardcore mechanics making their way back into mainstream RPGs, and it seems like a natural fit with the size of the world BioWare are creating.
Finally, content in the game won't scale with the player's level. This means that certain encounters or areas will be off-limits until the Inquisition's power grows. As someone who feels that scaling difficulty creates as many problems as it solves, I'm pretty excited about this change.
Conversations and consequences
Conversations are still dialogue-wheel based and the player character is fully voiced. Honestly, it looks a lot like Dragon Age II - but one cool new feature is the way that each option on the wheel has a corresponding tooltip offering more information on the potential consequences of that decision. The choice we were shown involved a party of injured guards wandering a road during an attack by a splinter faction of Templars. The player could order them to stay where they were, help a local village, or defend a nearby Inquisition keep.
Once you've made one of these decisions, it's up to you whether you try to mitigate their negative effects in the open world. You could, for example, tell your allies to abandon the village and then go and save it yourself - or tell the guards to stay with their wounded and attempt to relieve the siege single-handed. I like the degree of flexibility it suggests, as well as the way it'll hopefully force player decisions to result from the game's mechanics ("I don't have enough healing items to do this alone, I need these guards to help me") rather than a simple desire to play one type of hero or another.
...is looking big. Specifically, bigger than Dragon Age: Origins. Three years of development time and a decent budget look to have prevented DAII's geographical limitations from resurfacing. The game will be split into multiple large areas with each area containing a number of towns, fortresses, caves and dungeons. There were no loading screens within these zones during the demo I was shown, but there will be some kind of load when the party moves from one zone to another. I was shown an area in Ferelden that included a large lake as well as a desert area west of Orlais.
The broad area that the game will cover includes Ferelden, Orlais, Nevarra and the Free Marches. The map I was shown didn't extend as far north as Tevinter and Antiva or further south than Ferelden's Kocari Wilds. If you're a fan familiar with Thedas' layout then that should give you some idea of the scope, though I don't know exactly how many of these open-world zones there will be - nor how the game will handle cities. Nontheless, it feels fair to say that it's looking pretty big.
Each area has a number of fade tears - smaller portals to the Fade that the player will be expected to close. Think Oblivion Gates, basically, though what exactly is involved in closing a tear wasn't revealed. In Ferelden, one of these tears is in the middle of a lake - one solution, the devs suggested, involved using a nearby dam to permanently lower the water line.
It seems like every province will include a fortress or two, and one of your main objectives when you arrive in new territory will be to claim an Inquisition stronghold. The presentation suggested that this will involve a range of side objectives - poisoning water supplies, etc - followed by a brief siege. Once you've captured a fortress, it'll change to reflect Inquisition ownership and the kind of outpost you want it to be. We were shown designs for a military fortress, an espionage centre, and a merchantile trading hub. Each will have its advantages and drawbacks and they'll additionally affect the kind of organisation the Inquisition will come to be - unlike the Wardens, whose identity is set in stone, you'll have some say over whether the Inquisition comes to be a merciless fighting force or something more subtle.
Taking a fortress then gives you access to a strategic metagame where you spend Inquisition agents to affect change in the world. The ones we were shown involved rebuilding monuments, opening paths to new areas, and establishing resource-gathering buildings to help with your crafting and alchemy. It made me think a little of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - a great open world game in its own right, and an influence I'm happy to see cropping up in a different genre.
BioWare seem to be really proud of their dragons. There'll be a fixed number of these in the game, and it sounds like they'll act as massive boss fights at the culmination of certain areas. They seem a little bit clumsy - they have a tendency to fly leg-first through pieces of tactically scattered ancient ruin, sending bricks and debris in their wake - but it's nonetheless very impressive. The brief segment we were shown reminded me of the original CGI trailer for Origins, where a dragon battle was a long, mobile, multi-stage affair. Here's hoping that some of that energy makes it into the actual game this time. In any case, expect to be shown BioWare's impressive dragon over and over again in the long year before release.
Just over a week ago, news broke of XCOM: Enemy Within - a very orangey expansion to Enemy Unknown. The accompanying video, in true XCOM tradition, showed a shadowy guy saying things in his Serious Voice, with nary a hint of gameplay footage to back it up. As with the moon landings and the inner workings of Pat Sharp's Fun House, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was protected by some vast government conspiracy - y'know, if it wasn't for this brand new trailer chock-full of the stuff. It's entitled War Machines, and true to the name it shows off the expansion's new bio-engineering and robo-mech-suit features. There is also a lot of alien-punching. If Will Smith happens to be watching: that one's all on you.
Several of these technological advancements are thanks to a "newly discovered alien substance", which you can slather all over your soldiers to "augment them biologically". Oo-er. There's talk of this procedure, and the cybernetics-based mech suits, requiring some sort of sacrifice - an evocative thought, but it's not clear if that actually means anything in gameplay terms (your PSI-enabled troops in the first game didn't come with any disadvantages, after all). For now, all we can see is a sort of energy headbutt, and a fair bit of mech-on-alien melee action.
To find out more about XCOM: Enemy Within, augment your coffee table with the latest issue of the mag.
Aug 31, 2013
Zeboyd Games - developers of Breath of Death VII, Cthulhu Saves the World, and Penny Arcade Episodes 3 and 4 - have a new game in the works. It's called Cosmic Star Heroine and, hooray, it's another old-fashioned JRPG-style RPG. This one, however, is more inspired by the likes of Phantasy Star and Suikoden than by Final Fantasies of old. It's Zeboyd's most ambitious game yet, and naturally that means it has its own attract mode-style opening video. Catch it after the break.
PAX is a thing that is going on now, and that's where details of Zeboyd's latest were elaborated on. Over on the Playstation blog (for Cosmic Star Heroine is coming to PS4 and Vita as well as PC), Robert Boyd shared the following summary:
"Cosmic Star Heroine is our latest attempt to recapture the feel of some of the classic RPGs of the 90s, while putting our own unique spin on the whole experience. Inspired by games like Chrono Trigger (visual style, on-map battles, combo techniques), the Phantasy Star series (overall feel of the worlds and characters), and the Suikoden series (political intrigue, expandable player headquarters), we can’t wait to share Cosmic Star Heroine with you!"
Huzzah! It seems like we won't have too long to wait either, as Zeboyd are set to launch a Kickstarter for the game at some point in the next few weeks. They'll have screenshots and gameplay footage to share then - if successful, the game will launch in 2014.
Oh and if you're wondering who the titular Cosmic Star Heroine is, well, they have you covered there too. Alyssa L’Salle is "one of the galactic government’s top agents, and has saved the galaxy more than once! But when she accidentally uncovers a dark conspiracy, her own government outs her as a legendary spy and the people’s champion! Sure, now she has hordes of adoring fans, but every villainous organization she’s ever crossed in her career knows who she is and is out for her blood! Can she save the day once more while she faces her greatest challenge… everyone!?"
I dunno. Maybe? Look, Zeboyd, I'm not the best person to ask.
Aug 31, 2013
Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week... take me awaaaaay, I don't miiiiind. But you'd better promise me, you'll improve your game design.
When you've got a beloved movie, you need at least a game or two to go with it, even if its creators willingly or otherwise end up tricking kids into such expensive disappointment that even Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang's Child Catcher looks at their business cards and shakes his head in disapproval. The greatest 80s movie about dangerous driving and barely averted incest was hardly going to be an exception, even if the PC was spared the worst of the licensing horror. But with two separate shots at the target, did either Back To The Future II or Back To The Future III manage to beat the odds?
Wow, this is heavy. No, wait. The controls just suck.
Of course not. Both games were awful, as you'd expect - though at least both were better than the truly eye-popping Back To The Future II and III on Nintendo, if only on the grounds that pretty much everything is, including chewing foil paper, bubonic plague, and finding half a worm inside your apple.
At this point in gaming history, movie conversions were going to be one of two things - a platform game, or a collection of mini-games doing their best to pluck out specific scenes and stretch them out long enough to fill a floppy disk or so. Both of these games took the second route, not unreasonably assuming that anyone buying them would know the movies backward, and only just backing down from adding 'recent concussion' to the recommended system specs on the grounds that it couldn't possibly hurt. They did at least fail in weird and wonderful ways though, so let's jump into...
BACK TO THE FUTURE II: THE ADVENTURES OF FAT MARTY
Right from the start, Back To The Future 2 is an awful experience. It starts with a configuration menu that goes out of its way to try and trick you into playing in PC speaker mode rather than fancy-pants Adlib, just so that it can demonstrate exactly what a couple of the themes would have sounded like if performed by a phlegm-gargling robot. Then, it thrusts you into a version of Hill Valley 2015 so dangerous, so hostile, that Biff's evil version later in the game feels like a quiet vacation.
Imagine playing Paperboy, only with nothing so powerful as a rolled up newspaper for defense. Marty hoverboards down the road under constant siege from the same handful of respawning goons, including a buxom waitress, Old Biff and his cane, and police cars that want nothing more than to knock him off his hoverboard and onto his ass - something that makes much more sense when you realise that one of the items that you can pick up is a box of plutonium. As a wise man might have said "I'm sure that in 2055 plutonium is available in every corner drug store, but in 2015 it'll give you pocket cancer."
"Wait, didn't they drop the plutonium thing in favour of Mr. Fusion?" you might be asking. Nerd. But yes! I like to imagine that this Marty is secretly a mastermind in training, whose overall plan was to buy the Sports Almanac to raise money, then use his new plutonium stockpile to bomb the parts of the world he's unable to buy - while of course wearing futuristic tennis shoes and drinking Pepsi, two of the other items just scattered around and collectible for a few considerably less lethal bonus points.
At this point, it seems best to just beat Old Biff to death and hide his corpse in that bin. What? Just saying...
Aside from this though, at least Back To The Future II earns a few Doc Brownie points for its creators at least having watched the movie at some point - something that wasn't guaranteed, as the likes of A Week Of Garfield or anything with the letters 'LJN' on the box so ably demonstrate.
We're not talking many points though, just enough to cover that if you survive long enough, you pass sights like the showing of Jaws 19 and the other locations from the movie. Also, it loses most of them at the end, with its final challenge - the huge lake in front of the town hall. As every bojo knows, hoverboards don't work on water unless you have power. Or, apparently, unless you just keep pushing forward. It turns out that hoverboards use Looney Tunes physics, with Marty only getting a soaking when he looks down and realises he's done something dumb. Oh, and speaking of things that are dumb:
Hotline Hill Valley (If only...)
Ah, Level 2. This one takes the unusual decision to stop the 'action' stone dead in favour of the world's slowest, least interesting logic puzzle. In this one, you play the magic spirit of the doors in Marty's future home, with the goal being to get Jennifer out before she bumps into anyone and creates a time paradox that destroys the world... as opposed to when she met herself and just fainted without killing herself or anything. It's a hilariously simple puzzle built on the idea that when a person sees an open door, they are compelled to go through it. You use this quirk of human psychology to push them between different rooms and clear a path. This is how you save the day, and also get rid of annoying house guests.
...or alternatively, you use the cheat code 'einstein' at the start of the game. This doesn't help you beat the puzzle, which is only remotely challenging because of the tight time limit and the human brain turning out to shut down like an overheated CPU in the face of this much boredom. It does however mean that when you fail and it asks "Try Again?", answering "No" makes it shrug a silent "Not without cause" and skip to the next level. Hurrah! Take that, Geisha. If only all bad levels were so accomodating.
I NEED YOUR CLOTHES, YOUR BOOTS, AND YOUR MOTORCYCLE.
Level 3 is particularly weird, feeling like a level air-lifted in from a Terminator game. Remember how Marty was a martial badass who fought his way through Hell Valley by kicking everyone - even the ladies - right in the balls? It would have been a lot quicker. Again, I can't help but think we're dealing with some alternate timeline Marty here, who doesn't so much recoil in horror at the burning cars in the background and sleaze empire all around as take a cold look and decide "It will be mine. Oh yes."
It's a long stage too, with much ball-kicking between Marty's starting point and Biff's Casino, and sadly no super-move in which Marty screams a digitised "This is for YOU!" and takes out enemies by holding them down and shoving plutonium rods from the future deep into deeply unpleasant places. As with all the stages, the controls are sluggish enough to leave a trail of slime behind them, and even the game's manual highlights Marty's lack of moves - actual quote: "You may want more, but remember, Marty is no Bruce Lee." Really? You put Marty McFly into a beat-em-up and you are telling me that he's not a street fighter? The oh-so kickable balls on you, game. Big enough to create a gravitational field.
The weirdest part though is midway through the level, when for no apparent reason rolling barrels start flying onto the screen. Does Donkey Kong want a piece of Marty? It's never explained. Instead, the scene again rather takes a fundamental part of the movie - that Marty gets his arse handed to him on a Biff Tannen commemorative plate and only just escapes back to 1955 - and decides "Nah."
This time, Marty handily defeats Biff to the point that he goes flying off the bottom of the screen and into World -1, and given what's come before, it's hard not to think he has some kind of Conan the Barbarian "you break it, you conquered it" idea in mind. Spoilsport Doc Brown though sweeps right in to take him back to 1955 and prevent everything from going wrong in the first place. Though after this level, it does rather feel like Marty's solution would be to go a bit further back in time and kill Biff's mum, Doc Brown isn't quite ready for that level of conquering evil. Instead, it's off to the Wow, If You Haven't Seen The Movie You're Really Confused At This Point Dance. What's up next in this exciting adventure?
...a sliding block puzzle.
No. No no no. No. No. No. Nope, no, no. Not happening. Not a chance. No. No. No no no no no no. N to the O to the ! No way, no how. Nononononono. Nono, small robot you know, friend of Ulysees. No.
NOW can we just kill Old Biff? It's not murder after the beat-em-up, just tying off loose ends.
And so to the final level, which is exactly the same as the first level only with the future stuff replaced by 1950s stuff. Except one minor thing - Marty is still casually zooming around town on a hoverboard. Well, it's not like he has a reason to, y'know, actively avoid contaminating the timestream at this point. Worst case scenario, he'll simply order his subjects to forget it ever happened after finally smacking Doc Brown on the back of the head with a tyre iron and declaring himself the Time King. The main weird thing that pops out of this level, aside from the fact that I have no idea how anyone could endure it without the infinite-energy cheat code I feel precisely no shame for using, is that 1955 is full to bursting point with manure guys. It's as if they all heard there was a Back To The Future chase scene going on and all wanted to do their part for slapstick comedy. Either that, or it's the tacit acknowledgement from the designers to the players that yes, this game of theirs is officially full of shit.
Here's the whole game - Amiga version, so it looks a lot nicer than the PC one.
Oh, but if you don't have time for that, want to see the ending? The entire ending?
"The Search For More Money"
Wow. Who wouldn't want to endure more of this?
Well, let's jump in and see if it was any better. Or less worse, to keep our expectations reasonable.
Ah, Back To The Future III. Even Dragon's Lair offered more warning before its first death.
Back To The Future III again uses the mini-game approach, choosing some... odd parts of the movie. The first one is fair enough though - the scene where Doc Brown's lady-love Clara is on a one-way trip to the bottom of what Marty knows as Clayton Ravine. He's on horseback, with the goal being to remain on horseback long enough to play the hero. The problem with this stage though is that he has a life expectancy of about five picoseconds, thanks to truly sadistic design that starts off by throwing a huge boulder right at his face and then becomes a pixel-perfect jumping and ducking gauntlet. Donkey Kong doesn't show up with his barrels, but everything else that can possibly hit Doc in the face does. Boulders. Insects. Repeatedly, the ground, thanks to a horse that loves nothing more than coming to a dead stop and sending him flying onto his arse at the slightest provocation. At one point he even rides through a cowboys and indians crossfire, which can only mean that they saw Clara screaming past with her best Penelope Pitstop "Heeeeeealp!", shrugged, and got back to their shootout. Jerks.
It's not helped of course by the colour palette that makes it really hard to see much of what's coming, or the fact that Doc's huge sprite allows for almost no leeway when dodging or responding to pitfalls. If you're not psychic, you're not getting through most of this stage, and if you are, you should have known better than to play this in the first place. Also next week's Lottery numbers. Feel free to share.
What's really odd about the stage though is that both the intro and ending change as you keep failing it - and you will keep failing it. Initially, it's played straight - Doc and Marty giving their best "Oh no!" as they see it. Subsequent attempts though have Marty going "Forget it, Doc, I'll do it!", Doc being reduced to "Oh no Marty, there she goes again!" and even Clara getting bored of falling to her death.
Ouch! Right in my fourth wall!
About as laid back are the two levels that follow. The final one of course is a platforming thing set on Doc's time train, but I didn't get that far for reasons I think can be best summed up with a picture of a keyboard, broken and snapped in frustration. Still, in theory, of all the many other scenes of adventure in Back To The Future III, which do you think were the obvious to make into a game?
The completely pointless shooting gallery? You win a prize! Your prize is terrible controls.
Nope, not doing a 'classy' joke about having a steady hand. Shame on you for thinking it.
Still, at least it suits a mini-game, which is more than many licenses managed. The Flintstones over on the Sega Master System for instance made an entire level about painting a wall, which at least put it a step or two above the creators of Myst, who willingly chose to try and compete with watching one dry.
What follows though is either a work of genius, or utter desperation. You remember the scene in the movie where Marty throws off Biff's ancestor's aim by throwing a pie tin at his hand?
Back To The Future III has an... uh... interesting take on that...
Couldn't at least one level have tried to show how the West was fun?
Yes, in this version, Marty throws more discs at his enemies than the entire cast of Tron. That snapping sound you can hear is the concept not even trying to stretch to five seconds of this, never mind a whole shooting gallery where he takes out a whole gang of gunslingers (while trying to avoid a blind man who wanders in from the future with his dog for some reason) with mad frisbee skills. I suppose it could have been worse. If QTEs had been around, I'm sure there'd have been a whole level where he dances to avoid bullets, and at least we were spared a platforming bit where it turns out the mine in which they hid the Delorean was full of deadly bats and ghosts. Still - pie plates? Seriously? Pie plates?
The sad thing of course is that as awful as these games were, by the standard of movie licenses at the time, Back To The Future III was slightly above average. The average being as low as it was, this is not exactly something to cheer about, but still. At least the more recent Telltale adventure tried to do some interesting things with the storyline, even if the game itself was fairly wretched most of the time (a particular low point being Marty having to cheat to beat someone in a guitar-off, despite him being canonically being able to play well enough to invent rock and roll). Still, there were some genuinely good moments in there - a highlight being the surprisingly compassionate introduction of initially sinister sounding Citizen Brown in the series' latest alternate timeline. Not enough of them, but some.
Hmm. Maybe if there's a sequel one day, we can finish the story of Marty's evil alternate self as he continues his quest to conquer time and space and find somewhere safe to ditch Doc Brown's corpse. That would probably be worth playing. Back To The Future IV: Emperor McFly. He seized the Earth in an iron fist, and slew the good and the great and those who dared call him chicken. Historians just wish he hadn't done it with pie plates. Wow, did that make the history textbooks dumber in a hurry.
Don't patronise me.
Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition, an updated version of the classic BioWare RPG, is set to release November 15, according to the game's official website. Just like the reworked edition of the first Baldur's Gate, the sequel is set to include new characters, another Black Pits arena combat mode, and lots of work under the surface of the venerable game's interface and coding.
As in the original Baldur's Gate 2, you're placed in a world that depends on the choices you make and the path you choose for yourself, some lawfully good and others perhaps chaotically evil. But there should be one or two new ways to uncover your character's true destiny, after hearing back in May that more than 350,000 new words of content had already been added to the enhanced version being completed by Overhaul Games and Beamdog.
Our review of the first Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition ultimately came down to a balancing act between paying a higher price for the new version or downloading the original from a site like GOG.com and installing a variety of existing mods yourself for a similar experience. It's encouraging to hear that so much more new content is apparently planned for the updated version, which includes both the Shadows of Amn and Throne of Bhaal segments of the game.
Baldur's Gate 2: EE will launch at $25.
Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut, or the update to what I like to call “Twin Peaks: The Video Game,” is bringing its coffee fortunes, raincoat killers, and other survival horror nonsense to your PC this Halloween.
For those who’ve only heard of the game through whispers or the much less accurate tea fortunes, Deadly Premonition is a survival horror game that tasks you, FBI special agent York, with solving a series of murders that has led you to the small, “everyone knows everyone” town called Greenvale.
The game received a director’s cut on consoles back in April, which added new controls, updated visuals and some extra story threads. The PC version will include all of that, plus some exclusive DLC goodies, the details of which have been rather vague. The PC version also gets Steam achievements and trading cards, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The original Deadly Premonition is known for having some rather rough edges, but its story and characters garnered a dedicated fan base (it passed Steam Greenlight after all). How the survival horror title will perform on PC is still a mystery, but it’s nothing a few good ol’ coffee fortunes can’t predict.
A decision by Square Enix to prohibit the monetization of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn content on YouTube and other video streaming sites has been reversed, according to updated policy language on the game's website.
Previously, as Penny Arcade Report points out, Square didn't want to allow ads to be run alongside commentaries and Let's Play videos on sites like Twitch.tv and YouTube. This would have kept YouTubers, many of whom run ads and get paid for their work, from reviewing games like FFXIV, out of fear that they would get a strike against their channel and risk termination from the site.
Square Enix today updated its policy, though as of this writing, the stance may seem contradictory. The applicable new language in the game's Materials Usage License reads as follows:
"You may not use the Materials for any sales or commercial use, meaning you cannot receive license fees or advertising revenue, except as part of the partner programs operated by YouTube.com, Twitch.tv, Ustream.tv, or similar programs. If the operator of a partner program seeks to confirm our policy, please point them to this page as we do not have the resources to respond to all requests."
But just below that statement, under "Guidelines for Videos," the license seems to contradict itself:
"You may not monetize your video via the YouTube partner program or any similar programs on other video sharing sites."
A comment provided to PC Gamer by Square Enix appears to acknowledge the confusion surrounding its policies:
"Our revised stance is reflected in the first part of the statement. The second part unfortunately was not updated to reflect these changes but we are working to rectify this and apologize for any confusion we have have caused."
The new decision should free up suitably-partnered streamers to use Final Fantasy XIV, which went live this week, to their heart's content.
Gearbox has released a short film called "+5 to Punching: A Bunkers & Badasses Prologue," which acts as a prologue of sorts for Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon’s Keep DLC you might remember falling into your digital lap last June.
Apparently, everything began with Brick and Tiny Tina being captured and interrogated in a Hyperion stronghold, with Tina using her deranged imagination to give Brick the inspiration needed to break free of his chains and incapacitate the "sorcerer" holding them captive. It just goes to show how powerful a colorful imagination can be, though I suppose having biceps larger than your skull helps too.
Borderlands 2's next piece of DLC, the Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2: Digistruct Peak Challenge, comes out September 3 and raises the level cap from 61 to 72. The more story-focused DLC T.K. Baha's Bloody Harvest, comes out sometime this Fall, though we're guessing it'll be around Halloween considering the main boss is named Jaques O'Lantern. Pumpkins tend to be a little more frightening in October, when they haven't transitioned to their delicious pie form.
Feeling presidential today? Or maybe you're more in the mood for a relaxing trip to the country, plunger gun in hand. Saints Row 4 developer Volition dropped two new DLC packs this week, each with its own flamboyant take on wildly different aspects of American culture: historic presidents and hillbilly fashion.
A game like Saints Row 4 doesn't seem to settle for any half-measures, and as we saw in our review, this kind of honesty leads to moments that are both ridiculous and incredibly satisfying.Tongue planted firmly in cheek, the game's new Presidential Pack DLC works to bring some reassuringly bizarre flair to Steelport with its focus on presidential costuming. Not satisfied with a George W. Bush or Barack Obama mask, you say? Volition's other DLC release this week, the Grass Roots Pack, is decidedly less interested in any kind of Oval Office refinement with its emphasis on double-barreled shotguns and sweat-stained overalls.
As we see in the video above, the new DLC packs give you some new sartorial options that blend nicely with Saints Row 4's extensive character customization. In addition to its costumes, the Grass Roots Pack includes a few new weapons as well as a truck right out of the Beverly Hillbillies, a part of history surely as revered as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln in the world of Saints Row. But I think that's exactly the point.
The DLC packs are available for $2.99 each on Steam but unfortunately don't account for the resulting flashbacks to one of Keanu Reeves' finest films.