Europa Universalis IV - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Oliver Milne)

Big, slow, sweeping strategy games expose their rules in a way no other game does. Call of Duty doesn t have floating numbers above enemy heads, telling you their movement speed, for example. But in most 4X and grand strategy games, there is no attempt to hide exactly how everything works: the stats, their interactions, are all laid out and plain to see. Yet these games are utterly dependent on their ability to evoke a sense of place, scale, and history they have to be much more than just a fancy chessboard, they have to feel alive, or they re just not much fun. How can these games survive and thrive under such conflicting pressures? I spoke to three of the world s top strategy game designers, from Firaxis, Paradox and Amplitude, to find out. … [visit site to read more]

Left 4 Dead 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

The Steam summer sale is in full blaze. For a while it even blazed so hot that the servers went on fire and all the price stickers peeled off the games. Either that or the store just got swamped with cheapskates looking for the best bargains. Cheapskates like you! Well, don t worry. We ve rounded up some recommendations – both general tips and some newly added staff choices.

Here are the things you should consider owning in your endless consumeristic lust for a happiness which always seems beyond reach. You’re welcome.

… [visit site to read more]

Left 4 Dead 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

The Steam summer sale is in full blaze. For a while it even blazed so hot that the servers went on fire and all the price stickers peeled off the games. Either that or the store just got swamped with cheapskates looking for the best bargains. Cheapskates like you! Well, don t worry. We ve rounded up some recommendations – both general tips and some specific staff choices.

Here are the things you should consider owning in your endless consumeristic lust for a happiness which always seems beyond reach. You’re welcome.

… [visit site to read more]

Sid Meier's Civilization® V - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Jon Shafer was 21 years old when he became lead designer of Civilization V. Now working at Paradox on an unannounced project and on his own historical strategy game At The Gates in his spare time, he says he’s learning from the likes of Spelunky along with the more obvious strategic influences. We spoke about how the second half of every Civ sucks, the part the series played in his life, the perils of boredom in strategy design, how much we love maps, and what the future holds for both Shafer and Paradox.

I began by asking how he ended up sitting at the Paradox Convention, in Stockholm, the city that has now been his home for two weeks: “It’s quite a long story, actually.”

That story begins in Denver, around 2003.

… [visit site to read more]

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

The ‘Digital Deluxe Edition’ of Civilization 6 [official site] is to receive some extra little DLC packs for free, publishers 2K announced today, which is jolly surprising given that the game has been out for six months. 2K say that it wasn’t good enough value, so they’re making it better. And yup, folks who’ve already bought the Digital Deluxe Edition will get ’em too. Digital Deluxe Editions of games tend to strike me as cheeky ways to exploit fandom, offering trinkets and baubles in exchange for an extra 10 or 20, so it’s weird to see a publisher actually care about whether one is good value or not. … [visit site to read more]

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

The march of progress is slow in civilisation and hey, Civilization can take time too. Civilization 6 [official site] developers Firaxis today launched the 4X strategy game’s Spring Update, bring changes and fixes that may not be mega-huge but are certainly welcome. Warmonger penalties are reworked so your people are no longer forever cursed with the mark of Cain just for twatting your neighbour with a ruler, for starters, and the AI is fixed-up a little too. The patch is a 1GB download now percolating through the pipes so fire up Steam and let’s have a look. … [visit site to read more]

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

If you’ve been living off the grid and wiping your bum with nettles in the hope that Civilization will one day have a ‘try before you buy’ policy, today is your lucky day. The latest in the venerable strategy series, Civilization VI [official site], now has a demo.

Players who download the Sid Meier s Civilization VI demo will be able to play as China, led by Qin Shi Huang and take their first steps building a new civilization for up to 60 turns in to the game. For those completely new to the Civilization series the demo also includes the tutorial from the full game to introduce and guide beginners to the world of Civilization.

That’s just about enough time to get to grips with some of the new features, though not enough time to really unpack your capital city and to see all the districts spilling onto the map.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Australian will join Sid Meier’s globedwar for the first time in new DLC for Civilization 6 [official site], 2K have announced. WW2-era Prime Minister John Curtin will rise from the grave to lead them. Continuing the theme, 2K have also announced that the ‘Australian Summer’ update is “coming soon” to add neat-o features like official mod tools with Steam Workshop support and the option to play as teams in multiplayer. … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Amanda Kerri)

Video games always come with an expectation that the player will suspend disbelief to some extent. Genetically engineered super-soldier clones don t exist, radiation has never and will never work like that, and overweight Italian plumbers could never make that jump. In most cases, if we are unwilling or unable to suspend our disbelief, we may well struggle to enjoy the game and our questioning of the basics of its reality would probably make us insufferable to be around.

There are some games however, where the realities of our world are key to enjoying the game. These are the builders like City Skylines, simulators and sports games like Prison Architect and FIFA, and even crime games like Grand Theft Auto. One genre has a particular problem when it comes to maintaining a foot in the real world yet still creating a setting where one can have fun without becoming mired in morally questionable events and choices: historically based games. And among historical games, few subjects are as complex to represent as slavery. Many have tried, from Europa Universalis IV and Victoria II to Civilization and Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry, and in this article I’ll investigate the portrayal and use of slavery in these games and more to explore what they get right, what they get wrong, and how games could do better in future.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

It’s the weekly Steam charts! These are the games which sold best on Steam last week. This week, it’s the first true> chart of 2017, as the last one covered the arse-end of 2016. All change, all change.

I’m even going to do this one upside-down. New year, new rules! And I don’t want to spoil the surprise right away.

… [visit site to read more]

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