Assassin's Creed® Origins

Here's a new Assassin's Creed: Origins video, showcasing the game's setting and mood to the tune of Leonard Cohen's You Want It Darker. As you'll have gathered by now, this installment is set in Ancient Egypt, and while Ubisoft has rejigged the series' format quite dramatically by all reports, you can be safely assured that much stabbing and killing will still take place.

The trailer was aired during the Xbox / Microsoft Gamescom press conference earlier today. Assassin's Creed: Origins will release this October, and according to James Davenport it'll be well worth the wait. After playing the game at E3, he highlighted some of the major changes over here.

Middle-earth™: Shadow of War™

Orcs aren't the only nasties roaming Middle Earth, and in Shadow of War you're going to have to confront some real brutes. The latest video shows hero Talion face up to a fiery Balrog (you know, of the famous 'You Shall Not Pass' scene from the films), a tree spirit and what looks like an armoured, camouflaged Caragor.

To defeat them you're going to need more firepower that just a sword, and Talion has just the thing. The trailer shows him riding on the backs of two dragons as well as on the shoulders of a huge ice troll that can freeze orcs in a single breath.

There's no actual gameplay, which is a shame, but it all looks suitably impressive. The orcs are going to be the focus of the game but it won't hurt to throw in some larger enemies now and again, I reckon. What do you think? 

Watch the trailer, first shown during Microsoft's Gamescom presentation, below:

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS

Last weekend we asked for you to share your craziest stories from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Surprisingly, few of the best stories had anything to do with people winning. Instead the comments section quickly filled with hilarious tales of strategies gone wrong, absurd shenanigans gone right, and the overall kind of insanity that we'd expect from our readers. And if you missed the opportunity to share your story last week, feel free to add yours to the comments below.

Enjoy our selection of your best stories from Battlegrounds.

Naked Snake 

I have a pretty tough time getting second place in Battlegrounds fully equipped, so the fact that an entire squad somehow managed to pull it off completely naked is very upsetting to me. But Anthony comes with video evidence to support his wild story and it's definitely worth a watch—especially the final few minutes.

Commenter: Anthony Lake

So me and my mates were bored so we made up this amazing challenge.

No guns. No armour. No clothes. And we came second.

Check it out on our YouTube:

Jumping on a grenade 

Battlegrounds leaves little room for friendship unless you're playing with a squad. It's directly against the rules to ally with players while solo queuing. But Charlie Parson's story about the kindness of one stranger is just too cute. It's a 'fate will bring us together' type romance like Sleepless in Seattle or Serendipity, but with guns.

Commenter: Charlie Parsons

I started playing PUBG about the second week after it was released. In one of my early games I was playing solo, and I never realised that you could toggle your in-game microphone back then, so I played this game while talking out loud to myself. About halfway through the game I came to the four houses along the road leading to Saverny. As soon as I got close to the houses I was under heavy gunfire. 

From the sudden scare, I ran into a house and was in a standoff between me and another player who also had his game chat toggled on. After releasing all our ammunition onto each other, I called out and asked if we can stop killing each other and meet each other at the end of the game to see who wins if we still get to the finish. Remarkably I was able to get down to the last two players alive out of all 100 players who desperately tried to win. And funny enough, it really was me and the player I ran into before. We were the only ones left laying down in a field of wheat hiding from each other. 

Not knowing we had run into each other again, I spoke out and said "If you're the enemy from earlier, stand up." And so he did. He stood up and said, "Eh, you can win, I'm good for second place." After saying that I was ready to blow him away with my Scar-L but before I could he grabbed his last grenade and threw it below his own feet, and blew himself up, giving me my first ever Chicken dinner and a bounty of 1000 points. This was my first-ever win and it was one of the very rare experiences I've had in a game to come across another player who is as kind and not cold-hearted as I am. If I ever play a game with him again I will surely return the favor. I hope he sees this message, thank you.

Here comes the cavalry 

I never play in a squad with strangers because I'd rather not risk them being terrible, but this story restores my faith. Just when you think it's all over, a stranger can come flying out of nowhere and save your life.

Commenter: CitricBloodBath

Me and a random were playing duos, and we were down to about eight people left. We were in a house hiding out and waiting for the circle move to what ended up being the last circle of the game. We luckily had good rifles and I had a 4x scope. We popped off at least two just from shooting out the window. We were getting pretty excited about being this close to the end of the game, and I guess we both lost a little focus. The blue circle was fairly close behind the house, we didn't realize it was beginning to move. It was basically right on top of us when I noticed, and I was able to jump off the second story and run. 

My teammate, however, decided to take the long way down the stairs. I really don't know how he survived through the death wall, but I got to the white circle and instantly noticed two guys proning near a tree. I glanced at the player number. FOUR. It was just us! I take aim and, stupid me, emptied an entire clip into one of them with an UMP and a 2x scope. He went down, but his friend quickly hid behind the tree. I started to reload, but there was no cover. "Well, I'm dead." The opponent stepped out from behind the tree as I hear the explosion from a buggy being boosted. The opponent takes a couple shots at me but starts shooting over my shoulder. I prone and look behind me for my teammate. 

My squadmate had gotten a vehicle from near the house and flew by me, boosting the whole way and laughing maniacally. He hit a rock and half side flipped right onto the guy, crushing him with the side of the buggy. Up pops the Chicken Dinner. It was my first win in duo, and his first win at all, and we starting cheering and I'm pretty sure he was tearing up. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I could have almost sworn I heard patriotic music playing in the background. We didn't add each other, and I haven't seen him again. One day, JavatheButt, we will meet again.

Do a barrel roll 

Much has been said about Battlegrounds' hilariously awful car physics. But, man, these videos never cease to make me laugh.

Commenter: Kilborn

Driving in this game has some problems, I have no idea how to describe this but things go bad very quickly for us.

Winner, winner, potato dinner 

Someone get this guy a medal.

Commenter: KadooblerEnchilada

I won a duo game with a mate playing on a Macbook Pro with around 10fps. He even got the winning kill, top that!

Beep, beep, I'm a jeep

A car horn can communicate a lot of things like, "Hey, watch where you're going" or "Hold still while I mercilessly murder this person for you." This story has a little bit of both.

Commenter: Ryan Harvey

I was playing solo and driving a jeep to my next looting spot. Suddenly another driver, also in a jeep pulled in front of me on the road. I rammed his car, preparing for a fight. Instead of hopping out, the player stopped their car for a moment and honked. I honked back. He started driving and I followed, honking back and forth. After driving for some time, we went our separate ways. I was driving near a field some time later when I suddenly came under fire. I jumped from the car to shoot back but was hit badly in the process. Suddenly I hear a vehicle pulling up near me. It's the jeep guy. Despite having a clear and unobstructed view of me, he accelerates and barrels across the field, crushing my assailant and honking his horn the whole time. I jump back in my jeep and drive to him as he loots the body. We look at each other for a moment, I give him a honk of thanks, and we part ways for good. I don't know what became of him in the end but it was nice to see some humanity out on the battlegrounds.

Beep, beep, grenade in the jeep 

But not every story about jeeps is wholesome.

Commenter: Legios

A story about a squad game.

About an epic car chase, how our jeep got stolen with two squad members inside and the glorious sacrifice of a team member.

It's a touching story about love, teamwork, hardship, and tons of laughs.

Dr. Disrespect 

We've all had a bad game or two in our lifetime. You know, the kind of match where you screw up and feel your face flush with shame. Well, if I was the victim in Randy's story, I'd probably be a few weeks before I mustered up the courage to play again.

Commenter: Randy

Today, I'm here to regale you with a tale of utmost disrespect. Imagine, for a second, your average Mylta Power plane route. If you put in the pumps, you can make it to the radio tower on the hill of the island. I land, I looted, and I found nothing more potent than a new set of gloves. Determined to make something out of the run, I decided to run west down the hill towards gunshots. I see this man, armed with a scar and a pump shotgun, and decide it's time for some sick strats.

This man had no aim. And I mean that, no aim. He must have been new, and the Arma-style controls didn't click with him. Every shot he took missed and he didn't seem to know he could swap to full auto. I take advantage of that and zig-zag to the nearest building, but alas, no guns. Only a backpack. Not entirely clueless, the man had ascended a nearby guard tower, and I sat and watched him from behind a wall. Eventually, he descends, and I wait for him to head towards me and, immediately, the disrespect begins. He has his pump out, trying to hit me as I circle him. Finally, five shots are down, and he starts walking away from me while reloading. I take the opportunity to run at him full force and superman punch the poor man's skull. Blood on my hands and the biggest grin on my face, I take the loot he didn't deserve to have. Then I subsequently get shot trying to cross the bridge near Mylta. There is no doubt in my mind that if that was this guy's first round, he immediately uninstalled and refunded the game.

These were just a few of the great stories our commenters told us. For the rest, be sure to check out the comment thread from last week.

Friday the 13th: The Game

Friday the 13th players will be drowning in free updates very soon: there's a brand new map, a new Jason and smaller versions of current maps to facilitate faster rounds waiting in the wings.

IllFonic, developer of the asymmetric multiplayer slasher game, yesterday laid out its plans for the next wave of content without actually setting a date for when any of it will arrive. It was coy on details of the new map, only saying that it will arrive "sooner than you might think" and will be "ripped straight from the films". Interesting—any ideas? 

No unmasking of the new playable Jason either, we just know that he exists. 

There is more detail on the reworked maps, though. I like the idea: players will get smaller versions of Higgins, Packanack and Crystal Lake designed for a faster pace of play. So, perfect for those who find the current rounds too long, or simply want to switch it up. 

IllFonic is at pains to say it "didn’t simply shrink the maps and call it a day"—it's changed spawn and item locations, for example. They too are coming "soon".

There's free 'Emote DLC' incoming that will add eight emotes to help players communicate with their teammates. A thumbs up, saying no by waving your hands—the usual. (On a side note, I'm not 100% sure on where the line lies between free DLC and just, you know, a thing that's in the game. I don't know whether this will be downloaded automatically or you'll have to do it yourself. We'll have to wait and see.)

There's full patch notes for the next update in that Steam post as well, detailing bug fixes (plus a new site for reporting future bugs), map changes and gameplay tweaks.

I've saved the most expensive for last, because there's a $4 ($2 with a launch discount) DLC package called the Spring Break 1984 swimsuit clothing pack on the way. Expect bright bikinis and budgie smugglers. 

If you haven't played Friday the 13th yet and don't know if you should, then why not check out Tyler's review?

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

This image is very easy to understand.

Why is every difficult action game a ‘Souls-like’ now? Dark Souls is an excellent game that many games since have been inspired by, I’m glad we agree, but this is out of control. Especially in the past few months, the Souls-like label has been bandied about so erratically that it’s now meaningless at best and counterintuitive at worst. 

Look at what happened with Code Vein. Bandai Namco hyped up a mysterious new project with a vaguely vampiric trailer bearing the tagline ‘Prepare to Dine’, obviously cribbing from the Souls mantra ‘Prepare to Die.’ The publisher stopped just short of writing “It’s like Dark Souls” in the sky, and their teasing came on the heels of From Software president Hidetaka Miyazaki confirming there would be no more Souls games, so Souls fans were curious. 

But when the curtain fell and Code Vein was revealed to be a distinctly anime action RPG styled after God Eater, all those curious Souls fans scattered like royal rats. The Souls name comes with certain expectations.

Pictured: Code Vein

Those expectations caused Code Vein’s marketing to work against it. If Bandai had opened with ‘anime action RPG,’ the reveal probably would have been better received. But because many players went in expecting Dark Souls, many were disappointed. We see the same thing happen when wildly different games are lumped together as Souls-likes: games are mislabeled and players are misled.

An unfair comparison 

Ska Studios’ Salt and Sanctuary was trumpeted by many as a 2D take on Dark Souls, and not without reason. Enemies yield salt instead of souls, checkpoints are sanctuaries instead of bonfires and there are definitely some familiar bosses. These traits unabashedly ape Dark Souls, but I’d still describe Salt and Sanctuary as a 2D action RPG before calling it a Souls-like. If I had to make a direct comparison, it would be to The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, Ska’s previous 2D action RPG. 

Look at Dragon’s Dogma, which had the misfortune of releasing just months after Dark Souls and is still called a Souls-like even today. It, too, is an open-world action RPG featuring giant bosses and combat couched in stamina management. But it also has far more prominent RPG traits, such as sophisticated class and companion systems, and it lacks the atmosphere and challenge that makes Dark Souls what it is. And to be fair, Dark Souls lacks the ability to latch onto the nether regions of a griffin. 

Comparing every action game under the sun to Dark Souls not only ignores what makes them unique, it also sets them up for failure. Dark Souls is a poor and arbitrary acid test, and the Souls-like label creates unrealistic standards that threaten to bury great games. Salt and Sanctuary is a great 2D action RPG. Dragon’s Dogma is a great open-world action RPG. But as Souls games, they’re pretty terrible, probably because they're not Souls games. 

A meaningless label  

These examples also illustrate how unspecific Souls-like has become. Which is what always happens when we invent labels instead of simply describing games using established, straightforward terms. Labels like Metroidvania and rogue-like are also misnomers for games inspired in some part by Castlevania, Metroid, and Rouge, and like Souls-like, their definitions are muddy. They’re treated like genres when they’re really just confused, insular sets of characteristics that conflate design sensibilities in place of accurate, detailed descriptions. 

Even if you are intimately familiar with Dark Souls, Souls-like still doesn t tell you anything because it lacks a universal definition.

This is partly because these labels operate on presumed knowledge. Imagine you’ve never played Dark Souls—and plenty of people haven’t. What does Souls-like tell you about a game? Even if you know Dark Souls by reputation, you’ll miss the bulk of the message and probably have more questions. 

But then, even if you are intimately familiar with Dark Souls, Souls-like still doesn’t tell you anything because it lacks a universal definition. Salt and Sanctuary, Dragon’s Dogma, Dead Cells, The Surge, Titan Souls, Code Vein, Sundered, Furi, Hyper Light Drifter, Lords of the Fallen, Necropolis, Ashen, Nioh, Hollow Knight—these games offer an absurd range of experiences, yet all of them and more have been called Souls-likes. 

Games writers are especially guilty of this, and not just in this one instance. We come up with and lean on this kind of jargon all the time. It’s dangerously easy to do. Watch, I’ll invent a stupid genre right now and it will be every bit as credible as Souls-like. All right, I’ve got one.

Pictured: Little Nightmares

Big-headed-children-likes. Big-headed-children-likes are about getting big-headed children and childlike characters from one place to another, often (but not exclusively) by moving from left to right in a big, scary world. Noteworthy big-headed-children-likes include Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Limbo, Bastion, Inside, Child of Light, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, Little Nightmares, Cave Story, Hollow Knight, Poncho, Rogue Legacy, Rain World, The Binding of Isaac and Fez. 

Do you see how silly that sounds? The Binding of Isaac is nothing like Limbo. Fez is nothing like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Obviously. Even so, according to this definition, which is at once narrow-minded and overbroad, they’re all the same type of game. Souls-like is no different. These labels blindly hone in on a  few specific traits, and consequently clump way too many different games together.

A better alternative 

Calling games Souls-likes helps no one, so I guess we’re just going to have to properly describe them. Let’s pick on Dead Cells, whose Steam description calls it “a rogue-lite Metroidvania action-platformer” featuring “2D Souls-lite combat.” Whew, boy. How can we relay that to someone who knows next to nothing about games? Someone from a far-off timeline devoid of cockamamy, wannabe genres? We’d probably say something like this: Dead Cells is a difficult 2D action game about collecting loot and exploring a dungeon wherein enemies and rooms change every time you die.

Let’s do Titan Souls next. Titan Souls is an isometric action game filled with bosses that play out as puzzles which must be solved using only a bow and a single arrow. Oh, talk descriptive to me. Let’s do Hyper Light Drifter: an isometric action RPG that, despite challenging combat and inventive bosses, is centrally about exploring a gorgeous pixel art world. 

Hell, let’s take it one step further. How would we describe Dark Souls to someone who knows nothing about the series? We can’t very well call it a Souls-like, now can we? How about this: Dark Souls is an incredibly challenging open-world action RPG with carefully paced melee combat, smartly interwoven environments and hands-off storytelling which belies incredibly deep world building.

Even with that much explaining, it feels lacking somehow. Where’s the asynchronous multiplayer? The Gothic themes? The eclectic characters? The crushing existential dread and the contrasting moments of triumph? A paragraph still can't do the work,but Souls-like doesn't even try.

Of course, Dark Souls didn’t come up with all these ideas on its own, but it handled them so well and with such flourish that it’s become emblematic of them. More than that, it set the world on fire precisely because it wasn’t chasing arbitrary genre conventions. This might explain why the Souls-like label exploded the way it did, but it also highlights the pointlessness of it. You can copy the systems, the terminology, the high difficulty, the UI, but you can’t copy the impact. 

That unmistakable Dark Souls feel has never been truly replicated, not even by its direct sequels. So when we call games Souls-likes, we’re not just misleading players. We’re not just mislabeling games. We’re wasting time. 

Dead Cells

Dead Cells, the excellent rogue-like Metroidvania, now has a daily challenge mode that you can replay as many times as you want to compete for a spot on the leaderboards.

Daily Run gives everyone the same level and loot, and is already alive and kicking: apparent hardware enthusiast GTX1080ti_Prime is top of the pile. Your ranking is based on the score you achieve rather than the time taken for your run, and there's a separate leaderboard for first runs only.

You only get access to the mode once you've reached a certain milestone in the game (developer Motion Twin isn't saying more than that), and you can only use items you have unlocked in the base game.

The mode was added in an update released for the early access game on Thursday alongside a new ability that lets players sell unwanted items lying on the ground and a speed boost that makes you run faster if you kill multiple enemies in a short space of time.

Also, gold has been rebalanced so that instead of keeping a certain percentage when you die (permanently) you just keep a maximum amount. It's one of the player suggestions that have been added to the game—other brainchildren of the community have been flagged in the patch notes too, which I like. It means that players know their feedback is directly influencing the game in tangible ways.

There's a host of other smaller changes, including a new Items Altar that asks players to choose between two gizmos, plus weapon balances and bug fixes.

If you haven't yet played Dead Cells and you're a fan of Spelunky and its ilk then it's worth checking out. It's got a headless protagonist and snappy combat, and Shaun enjoyed what he played of a previous version back in May.

It's £13.99/$16.99 on Steam.

Children of Morta

Children of Morta, a "narrative-driven hack-and-slash roguelike" about the Bergson family, was announced in 2014 and then successfully Kickstarted in 2015. And today, developer Dead Mage announced that it should be ready for release sometime in the first half of 2018, and more importantly put out a new gameplay trailer revealing the progress that's been made over the past couple of years. 

The pixel art graphics looks fantastic, but it's the promise of "a powerful narrative of familial ties" about a family that's guarded Mount Morta for generations that really grabs my attention. Six different family members will be available for the fight, each with their own unique playstyles, personalities, and quests, while the world of Morta itself will be filled with its own mysteries and lore to uncover. 

"Experience what it means to be in a family of heroes. Take part in their journey, their struggles, and their victories," the description on Steam states. "Witness a love for each other unmatched by even the gods themselves. Fight through hordes of monsters unimaginable as you explore a mountain constantly in flux. Gorgeous and breathtaking procedurally generated dungeons guarantee a unique experience every time you leave the safety of the Bergson’s house in pursuit of the truth behind the Corruption." 

That doesn't sound like your usual hack-and-slash romp, and I really hope it lives up to all that it promises. Children of Morta doesn't have a solid launch date yet, but you can find out more on Steam or at childrenofmorta.com

Darkwood

Last month, Darkwood developer Acid Wizard Studio released out a live-action trailer to announce that the top-down survival-horror game would finally be released on August 17. Joe said at the time that live-action promos for videogames don't really turn his crank, and I agree—but the new trailer released to mark the game's launch is pure gameplay, and it looks fantastic. 

On the surface, Darkwood sounds like a fairly straightforward survival-horror experience. By day, you'll scavenge the open-world forest for materials and supplies, and at night you'll need to hide away from "the horrors that lurk in the dark." But it's the promise of something more sinister underneath it all that really appeals: Making decisions that impact the world and inhabitants of Darkwood, while trying to come to grips with its mysteries. 

The top-down gameplay in the trailer isn't frightening in the way that first-person games typically are—the developers make a point of describing it as "survival horror without jump scares"—but it's undeniably creepy. The lighting is great, and the audio is used to tremendous effect to help drive the trailer to its crescendo. And it's so damn weird—A "wolfman" isn't the most exotic creature ever to appear in a videogame, but one dressed in a hoodie and heavy jacket, with an AK slung over his shoulder? That, you don't see every day. 

Darkwood is available on Steam and GOG for ten percent off its regular $15/£12/€14 price until August 24.  

No Man's Sky

I've been tooling around No Man's Sky a bit since the last update, mostly aimless exploration, jumping from solar system to solar system and landing to harvest enough plants and rocks to jump to more. I've been low on Thamium9, the gunk used with antimatter to craft warp cells, which I can never seem to find a sizable supply of. Thamium9 appears in scattered plants in small amounts that need to be hand-picked, and also in certain asteroids, but I always seem to be fresh out. The wiki informs me a good place to look is on barren planets, so I've been keeping an eye out for one.

While scanning a gray, distant planet called Elfannovi Umvel, which is described as an airless planet, I realize I can faintly make out what looks like a series of hexagons covering its surface. If it weren't for the sunlight glinting off the hexes, I may not have even noticed.

I jump toward it and the closer I get the better I can see this this isn't just a typical planet (well, each planet is procedurally generated, so technically they're each unique and thus not typical, but you get what I'm saying.) I've found one of No Man's Sky's new biomes. The big hexes give way to smaller and smaller ones as I approach and enter its atmosphere. It kind of looks like the planet is covered in solar panels.

Landing and wandering around, I don't see any signs of activity beyond the usual sentinels slowly hovering around performing their lonely duty of stopping players from quickly gathering rocks so they can get back to having fun. The synthetic plants, when scanned, are categorized as flora, and there are occasionally some hovering, slowly spinning hexes made of iron that can be harvested as well (there are also a few standard alien plants here and there). 

One thing of note is that scanning the synthetic plants and hexes doesn't pay you credits the way scanning organic plants and creatures does. I'm not sure if that's an interesting detail or just a bug. I'm feeling positive today so I'm going to go with interesting.

Flying over the planet's surface, my scanner picks up absolutely nothing for long minutes, and I don't see the usual dusting of outposts, crashed ships, language stones, monoliths, or anything else that requires investigation. Eventually, though, after landing to take a walk, I spot something in the distance. It's a structure, a large and metallic slowly spinning circle.

It turns out to be a terminal, which when activated, gives me a drizzling of text. After taking off again, I begin finding these terminals all over the planet. Most don't show up in scans, but having found the first one they become easy to spot.

They appear, for the most part, to be an AI that has been busy pondering various scenarios, and much of the text sounds like wargame simulations (one describes a hypothetical conflict between the Gek and Vy'keen). Sometimes the text has something to do with me (or you), the traveler, and some are musings about Atlas, life, and death. The planet, or whatever this is, appears to have had a lot of time to think.

One mystery, perhaps the most important one, I solved myself: yes, you can fly your ship through the rings. They don't transport you anywhere, but flying a spaceship through a big metal alien ring is still cool and if I had my own spaceship I would definitely do it as often as I could.

Another thing I discovered: at one point I landed near a terminal and found it was located next to a small cave. The cave's interior didn't appear synthetic at all: it was rocky with 'tites and 'mites and the usual procedurally generated clumps of alien plant life. So, it appears this planet isn't entirely artificial at all, but just covered by a layer of synthetic hexes.

I spent a couple hours just zooming around the planet, looking for more clues about what any of this means, and found probably a dozen or so terminals, always accompanied by vague text briefings, save beacons, and loot crates, but that's about it. I'm a little disappointed there weren't artificial creatures on the planet as well: some of those alien tigers with deer legs and cow heads and bird wings, only constructed from cables and solar panels, might have been cool to find. If you've found anything interesting on a hex planet, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

SPINTIRES™

Spintires is one of those games that you either really dig, or completely don't. It's about driving big, Soviet-era trucks through thick, Soviet-era mud—not racing or in pursuit of any grand quest, but just grinding through it however you can. Despite its obviously (very) niche appeal it was quite a success, but a fallout between the developer and publisher led to controversy, and even a temporary removal from Steam. 

That was all eventually smoothed over, and the game is now back on Steam. Not only that, but a new version called Spintires: Mudrunner is on the way as well. The "ultimate version" of Spintires will feature a "total graphical overhaul," a new sandbox map alongside the five environments in the original game, a challenge mode with nine dedicated maps, and 13 new vehicles, taking the total to 19. And happily, development is once again being headed up by Pavel Zagrebelny, the creator of the original game. 

So the core game sounds essentially unchanged, but that's not necessarily a bad approach to take. Spintires isn't the sort of game that's ever going to become a mainstream hit, but it's held onto its audience remarkably well: Its average concurrent user count in July 2014 was 1,239, and its average concurrent user count last month—July 2017—was 1,124.   

Spintires: Mudrunner is available for pre-purchase now on Steam for ten percent off its regular $30/£25/€30 price, with another 50 percent off for owners of the original. It's expected to be ready for release in October. 

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