Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Today the Pyro will get a chuffing jetpack in Team Fortress 2 as part of the ‘Jungle Inferno’ update. This is a big’un, bringing one new Valve-made map, five new community-made maps, and the long-promised Pyro class update. All flamethrowers are being improved and the Pyro is armed with four new weapons too, from a beefy single-shot flamethrower to a cheeky slap (hey, it worked in Absolver).

The update was expected to launch last night but Valve delayed it for a little more testing, so it’ll now hit today. (more…)

Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

The Team Fortress 2 [official site] gang are off to a lush tropical island to fight around the remains of Saxton Hale’s failed theme park Yeti Park in the next big themed update. The Jungle Inferno update will re-open Yeti Park as Mercenary Park, where mercenaries fight mercenaries (for control of capture points). Psst, that’s us. Five tropical community-made maps are coming too. As is TF2 tradition, Valve are counting down to launch day-by-day with collected teases, so more is to come. Dare I dream for the promised Pyro overhaul?

And yes, of course this means we have a fine new TF2 animated short to watch: (more…)

Half-Life 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Rick Lane)

orangeboxhead

The Orange Box is one of the strangest quirks of gaming history. Never before had a developer released three brand new, entirely separate games at the same time in one package, and thanks to digital distribution, it probably won’t happen again. What makes The Orange Box truly remarkable though is that it contained two of the most-anticipated games of 2007, and what proved to be the biggest surprise hit of the year (some might argue ever).

The company was Valve and the games were Half Life 2: Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal.

(more…)

Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Rich McCormick)

tf-header

Update Night is a fortnightly column in which Rich McCormick revisits games to find out whether they’ve been changed for better or worse.>

This is RPS, so let’s get literary. Team Fortress 2 is the game version of the Picture of Dorian Gray but in reverse. (more…)

Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

hl3

The lesson here is “never go to sleep.” All sorts of things happen while people sleep. Cats go on adventures, presidents threaten nuclear war and, well, ex-Valve writers post thinly-disguised plot summaries of the unreleased and, so far as best guesses go, long-cancelled Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Long time Half-Life scribe, the excellent Marc Laidlaw (who left Valve last year), casually tossed out a link to his website last night, which led to a short story about Gertie Fremont, Alex Vaunt and their climactic battle against evil alien invaders the Disparate. (The site’s having a wobble, but the page is archived right here).

While that might sound like satirical tomfoolery, the actual story very much> sounds like how the final chapter of Half-Life 3 could have played out. It involves time-travelling cruise liners, resurrected overlords, the heart of the Combine and the fate of one Doctor Gordon Freeman.

This is really happening. (more…)

Team Fortress 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Traditionally, Valve have maintained impossibly motionless poker faces about what they have planned in the longer term for Team Fortress 2 [official site] updates – something which helped to build insane degrees of anticipation back in the day, as we prayed and begged for videos and comics and guns and hats. These days, Overwatch seems to absorb most of the air in the room, and in addition TF2 is so fatted with stuff> that it’s hard to get too excited about this or that being tweaked. That’s why the latest round of patch notes are semi-notable: they’re telling us what they’ve got in the pipeline before it gets sprayed into the game, as opposed to the usual after. … [visit site to read more]

Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

So committed is third-party Half-Life remake Black Mesa [official site] to emulation of its much vaunted inspiration that it has now fully embraced ValveTime. Black Mesa was first released as a free mod in 2012, followed by a spit’n’polished paid version two years ago, but still with the notorious jump’n’fail alien world section from Half Life’s final act missing. Plan was to rethink rather than merely remake Xen, in a planned act of historical revisionism to make people think Half-Life was brillo all the way through. (Note: Half-Life was> brillo all the way through).

Last Autumn, the team declared the Gordon would finally be bouncing his away across fleshy coral oddities once away this summer. Well, no – there’s been a delay. The good news is, they are now showing off Xen’s great outdoors for the first time, as well as revealing a few changes planned for Black Mesa as a whole.

… [visit site to read more]

Portal - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

Every week we expose Brendan to the radioactive chemicals of the early access laboratory. This time, the time-bending puzzles of ECHOPLEX [official site].

I am stuck. There are 15 short levels currently available in ECHOPLEX, a first-person puzzler along the lines of Portal and Antichamber, and I am stuck on level 11. It is a toughie. The thing is, I m not sure if the game is working as intended. Bugs are part of the early access merry-go-round, for sure, but if they show up in the strict logic of a puzzle game they can be boldly destructive. But there s a bigger problem than that: I don t know if what I m seeing is a bug, or if it is simply part of the puzzle that hasn t been explained. … [visit site to read more]

Half-Life 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

I know what you re looking for. You re looking for a game that let s you be a janitor in a school riddled with drug dealers and class clowns. But also a game that will let you be a cop fighting robbers. But also a game where you are a soldier in World War 3. But also a game in which you are a prison guard keeping rowdy inmates in check. But also a game where you can be a footballer. But also– … [visit site to read more]

Half-Life 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Joe Donnelly)

Did you know that in 2004 Valve launched Half-Life 2 [official site]? And did you know that Episode 1 followed two years later and Episode 2 a year after that? Did you know it’s now been ten years and besides a mass of rumours, bad jokes and conversations with unverified sources, Gordon Freeman’s elusive third Half-Life outing – be that Half-Life 3 or HL2: Episode 3 – is still Not A Thing?

I’m sure you did. Let me now ask you this: do you know about Half-Life 2’s modding scene – a community which has been producing consistently brilliant tweaks and tinkerings to Freeman’s Combine-killing shooter for over a decade? Built from Valve’s Source Engine, the following list is comprised of single and multiplayer mods for the Seattle-based dev’s seminal and ever-enduring FPS – some of which are set in Freeman-familiar worlds, others which take on completely new looks entirely.

I know it’s hard to swallow, but Half-Life 3 might never happen. Play these mods instead. … [visit site to read more]

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