PC Gamer
Dishonored knife of dunwall

Dishonored's first major story DLC, Knife of Dunwall, is just under a week away. Steam has updated our install directories with about 700 megs of Daud, and with it has come the names and descriptions of all of the add-on's new achievements. Note that these do contain spoilers, so read with caution.

Just Business
Get the information you need from the Rothwild Slaughterhouse

Missing Pieces
Meet with Thalia Timsh, the Barrister's Niece

Well Connected
Purchase all of the Favors in The Knife of Dunwall

No Regrets
Complete The Knife of Dunwall in High Chaos

Redemptive Path
Complete The Knife of Dunwall in Low Chaos

Whisper Ways
Complete The Knife of Dunwall without alerting anyone

Cleaner Hands
Complete The Knife of Dunwall without killing anyone

Rats and Ashes
Attach an arc mine to a rat, resulting in a kill

Message from the Empress
Perform a drop assassination from atop the Empress statue in The Knife of Dunwall

Stone Cold Heart
Speak with the statue of Delilah Copperspoon in Timsh's estate

This confirms that Knife of Dunwall will include the original campaign's chaos system, and therefore, presumably, multiple endings. It looks like those of you who thought you were safe on your Ghost/Clean Hands high horses have some more work cut out for you. If the wait is just too much, remember to check out our meaty preview of Knife of Dunwall from last month.
Product Update - Valve
New Features
Adds support for Dishonored’s upcoming add-on, The Knife of Dunwall.

Bug Fixes (Dunwall City Trials)
Fixes a bug in Back Alley Brawl challenge where live grenade remains in player’s hand when restarting match.
Fixes a rare bug in Back Alley Brawl challenge where restarting match while cooking grenade causes disabled left hand.
Fixes a rare bug in Back Alley Brawl challenge where you can fall down into The Void.
Fixes a rare bug in Back Alley Brawl challenge where being killed by player killed by Warfare Overseers will restart challenge with lowered health.
Fixes a bug in both the Back Alley Brawl and Bend Time Massacre challenges where a Headshot bonus is not awarded if an NPC dies after Bend Time II effects end.
Fixes a bug in Bend Time Massacre challenge where Explosive Pistol does not count as an explosive kill.
Fixes a bug in Bend Time Massacre challenge where achieving the Power Combo bonus using Blink is awarding 2 kills.
Fixes a rare bug in Bend Time Massacre challenge where you are unable to possess Nobles after firing gun through glass.
Fixes a rare bug in Bend Time Massacre challenge where restarting as the Bend Time effect ends causes the round to complete with zero score and a black screen.
Fixes a rare bug where you can inadvertently receive the Time Management achievement/trophy after failing to get the bonus.
Fixes a rare crash in Bend Time Massacre challenge during Waiting For Effects sequence.
Fixes a bug in Oil Drop challenge where aim assist does not work on PC.
Fixes a bug where file integrity check requires a game restart at Dunwall City Trials first boot on PC.
Fixes a bug in Thief (Expert) challenge where key inventory is not reset when restarting from completion.
Fixes a bug on PC where game displays keyboard and controller art together.
Fixes a rare bug in Kill Chain challenge where countdown timer will stop after killing some enemies.

Bug Fixes (Dishonored)
Fixes a bug on where you receive a kill in Player/Mission stats if sliding into Slackjaw after freeing him.
Fixes a bug where City Watch does not leave attack posture when rewiring an arc pylon.
Fixes a bug in Overseer Backyard where player could get stuck on chain.
Fixes a collision issue when Corvo drowns.
Fixes a bug where navigation in Piero's shop was difficult when only one weapon upgrade remains.
Fixes a bug in Overseer mission where loading autosave created after actioning poison causes Campbell & Curnow to run.
Fixes Player/Mission Stats bugs.
Fixes a bug in Lighthouse where patrols are broken and there's no sound after reloading a savegame in low chaos.
Fixes a bug where Specter Achievement does not activate upon completing requirements in Brothel.
Fixes a UI bug where turning off Health/Mana gauge show gauges when powers are used via hotkey.

PC Gamer
Achieve That! for Skyrim

I've never been much of a reader in the Elder Scrolls games. When I come across a stack of books, I'll just drift my cursor along the spines, looking for any that are high value, either to collect and sell or to briefly crack open on the off-chance they provide me with a skill point. Today, however, I'm in the library of the College of Winterhold, opening and examining every single book I can find. This change in reading habits doesn't represent a sudden interest in lore or knowledge. I'm chasing an achievement.

This is due to a mod called Achieve That! which adds over 100 unique achievements to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. More importantly, it adds tangible rewards for achieving them in the form of small bonuses to relevant attributes.

Achievements in games are kind of a mixed bag. Often they seem to result in pointless busywork that can distract players for hours as they chase milestones for the simple reason that the milestones exist. Sometimes the busywork can interesting enough: in Bioshock Infinite, peering into all of the game's telescopes and kinetoscopes for the "Sightseer" achievement will give you a broader view of the city and insight into its history. Other times, chasing achievements can even turn you into a better player: Team Fortress 2's "Hot Potato" achievement, earned for deflecting projectiles with the flamethrower's airblast, will help make you a better Pyro.

The achievements that shipped with Skyrim are neither interesting nor helpful, mainly focusing on the completion of quests or the act of leveling up. They're not even interestingly named. The achievement for getting married, for example, is called "Married." Wow. Achieve That! provides achievements that are relevant to different styles of play, names them well, and rewards the player with relevant bonuses for completing them.

For instance, an achievement called Treasure Hunter challenges you to loot 150 chests, something the average player will probably accomplish in the course of the game anyway, and provides you with a +10 to your carrying weight. The reward feels perfectly relevant to the task: walking around with trousers heavy with loot would probably cause you to eventually grow stronger. Another achievement is called Local, which kicks in after spending a full month in the frosty climate of Skyrim, and gives you a +5 toward your frost resistance. (Spend six months or a year in Skyrim, and gain +5 more for each.) Makes sense: if you spend enough time in the snow, being frozen will eventually lose some if its sting.

At least 1,745 of them were asking for it.

There are general Skyrim-style achievements as well, but they also have appropriate bonuses. Completing 50 quests for A Helping Hand or 100 quests for Famous Hero gives you a small bonuses towards finding better prices in stores, as you become more well known in Skyrim. Discovering 150 world locations nudges up your movement speed by 5%, unlocking 300 locations gives you an additional 5%.

As for you dastardly types, you have not been overlooked. Steal 10 horses and receive a small bonus to your sneak skill. Kill 30 innocent citizens, and get a bonus to your damage. Backstab 500 times and your one-handed damage will increase. Escaping prison 15 times will boost your sneak, lockpicking, and pickpocketing skills as you grow from a lowly jailbird into a career criminal.

Now there's even more of a reason to stuff everything you find in your mouth.

There's also a category for professions, with achievements and bonuses for crafting, enchanting, and  mixing potions and poisons, as well as some random achievements for plucking butterfly wings, hunting rabbits, and even the simple act of eating food. Here's a full list of the achievements and rewards. And hey, should you feel that the attribute bonuses are cheating or making the game too easy, but still want to track your progress and chase milestones, you can always disable the rewards themselves.

Achieve That! seems to be intended for new or lower-level characters, but I'm trying it out with my level 43 Orc, Braul (previous exploits here and here). After installing and enabling the mod, and watching all the achievements I've already gotten scroll by on my screen, I decide to chase one of the book-reading achievements. As I said earlier, I'm not much of a reader, and Braul has only read a handful of books during his 206 days in Skyrim. I head to the library at Winterhold, run by an Orc named Urag gro-Shub, and start nosing around.

After reading some loose books piled around the library, I move on to the bookcases, though I'm dismayed to find that they're all locked, along with the display cases. I hunch over sneakily, hoping to pickpocket the librarian, only to discover that he doesn't have the key. Well, at least I have money, so I buy everything Urag gro-Shub has for sale, read them immediately, and sell them back to him.

Behold: Stealth.

I still haven't reached my milestone, so I start lifting and reading the books on the tables. Naturally, in my haphazard race to absorb as many books as I can, as fast as I can, I accidentally wind up stealing one instead of simply closing it. This doesn't go over well with gro-Shub. Though the act of stealing a book only comes with a 1 septim bounty, it apparently carries a death sentence from the librarian, who immediately begins throwing magic in my face.

Jeez, man. It's not like I took a book into the bathroom with me.

You can probably guess how the rest of my quiet library excursion goes. My follower, a powerful wizard I picked up in Solstheim, isn't fond of nerds shooting ice magic into my nostrils and goes full-on meltdown, summoning a flame atronach and blasting the librarian with fireballs.

Boy. That escalated quickly.

Of course, the librarian is one of those unkillable characters, and while he's quickly beaten into submission, he just catches his breath for a few moments, and then he and my follower start up with the magical bombardment again. Meanwhile, I'm just innocently trying to read whatever books are lying around as their song of ice and fire turns the room into a cloud of debris.

Eventually, gro-Shub flees up some stairs and my follower chases him, allowing me to quietly finish my achievement in peace. The library, meanwhile, has seen better days.

The lesson: NEVER READ.

Installation: It's a snap. Just download and drop the two Achieve That! files into Skyrim's Data folder. HOWEVER! You will need both the latest version of SkyUI and the Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE) to make it work. (If you're into Skyrim mods, you've probably got both already working.) For characters over level 20, you'll need to enable the mod from the Mod Configuration Manager (MCM) tab on the main menu. Below level 20, the mod will automatically be enabled when you start, but you can still adjust the settings from the MCM tab.
PC Gamer
Doom 4 Hell

Doom 4 will eventually emerge from development hell, but exactly when is still uncertain. Bethesda Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Pete Hines tells Kotaku that id's Doom 4 team has started over on a "new version" of the game after being unhappy with the initial quality of the game.

"An earlier version of Doom 4 didn't exhibit the quality and excitement that id and Bethesda intend to deliver and that Doom fans worldwide expect,” Hines explains. “As a result, id refocused its efforts on a new version of Doom 4 that promises to meet the very high expectations everyone has for this game and this franchise. When we’re ready to talk about the Doom 4 id is making, we will let folks know.”

A couple years ago, rumors swirled of an "indefinite" delay to Doom 4 over the tepid response to Rage's release, though Hines called the reports "bollocks" during that time. Hopefully id has settled on its final design direction for Doom 4's makeover. And hey, if it needs help, we've got plenty of ideas.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

The now Zenimax/Bethesda-owned id have been eerily quiet since Rage met a mixed reception and underwhelming sales. I quite liked it, non-ending aside – it might have nothing on BioShock Infinite’s visual majesty, but the people-filled non-combat hubs between its more tunnelish combat were more convincingly alive than Columbia’s Auton population. In any case, Rage wasn’t the combeback Carmack and co needed, leaving us hoping that the in theory forthcoming Doom 4 would be. Half a decade on, there’s neither hide nor hair of it to be seen, and alleged sources close to the project have told Kotaku why that could be. Clearly there’s something in it, as it prompted Bethesda’s Pete Hines to acknowledge that id had indeed switched to making “a new version” of Doom 4 after an earlier one “did not exhibit the quality and excitement that Id and Bethesda intend to deliver.” (more…)

PC Gamer

At night, Dishonored's sprawling city of Dunwall looks particularly magnificent. Lit windows dot a canopy of angular roofs and spires, and stacks continuously belch out whale-oil smoke—a signature of the city's bustling industry. It's easy to forget about Corvo Attano's errand of revenge and simply drink in Dunwall's details, but Arkane's journey building Dunwall was a far more elaborate process. At a GDC talk (via Polygon), Art Director Sebastien Mitton describes how experiencing "the life of a city" visited by the team eventually shaped Dunwall's culture and identity.
Arkane trekked to well-known cities such as London and Edinburgh because of their mixture of preserved historical buildings and new construction. Instead of confining themselves to tourist routes, the team set a destination point and bee-lined for it using backstreets and alleyways. Mitton says such a method was instrumental in picking up on the essence of a city over simply gathering volumes of reference photographs.
"Making trips is not just going into a location and taking photographs of textures and more textures and more textures," he explains. "It's to feel the city, feel the life of the city. To be on location, to talk to people."
Mitton goes on to say Dishonored's artists were careful to pick up on subtle nuances during visits such as street light behavior to help furnish Dunwall with small touches of personality. Capturing a city's "mysticism" was the ultimate goal, Mitton states.
A more striking change for Dunwall's design was a shift from its original setting in feudal Japan. Arkane ultimately felt that its unfamiliarity with Japanese culture wouldn't align well with its intentions, so it settled on a "gap" between a 17th century appearance and a 20th century technology level. Mitton also brings up period artists such as Jean-Eugène Buland and John Atkinson Grimshaw as important sources of material.
We'll soon blink about its rooftops in the Knife of Dunwall DLC, but I hope for more subsequent adventures in the city and beyond—there's a whole Empire of Isles to explore.
PC Gamer

Beyond Dunwall's detailed architecture and snippets of lore spread through its cobbled streets, Dishonored racked up acclaim for its steep non-linearity and free-form areas for players to fashion their own means of completing objectives using as much subtlety as desired. During a panel at GDC yesterday (via Polygon), Arkane co-Creative Directors Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith embraced this concept of player agency in games, saying, "It's all about guiding and attracting, as opposed to dictating the player's path."

"If you're making games that involve just doing the one thing that is the only thing that you can do to move forward, and then doing the next thing that is the only thing you can do to move forward, it really doesn't feel as creative or as rich or as interesting to us," Smith said. "So, giving the player the ability to look around and make choices in many different ways on many different axes at any given time is a big deal."

Dishonored's various components such as traps and enemies "listened" to the player's interactions with the world and reacted accordingly. Snatches of overheard conversation or tattered journal pages make up part of a "pull-based" narrative system to keep the player exploring and encountering new discoveries by themselves.

One example Arkane used was Corvo's ability to summon a swarm of rats—instead of popping a bunch of rodents out of thin air, the ability hinged on the existing presence of rats during a mission. The amount of rats plaguing the city, in turn, is determined by how many corpses Corvo leaves in his wake on a lethal playthrough.

"The benefit of this is that this is not the designer saying, 'Hey, turn the page and read my little story and follow my path. This is us abdicating that and giving it to the player, saying, 'Player, you tell us where you went, you tell your own version of the experience.'"

Though I loved Dishonored's limited approach to player direction, I think it's important to keep in mind that, as linearity generally continues to be a bad word, a full-on open-world design doesn't suit every game. Arkane's own efforts struck a balance between a hands-off style and dropping direct reminders of the multiple choices available to you, and that's probably the best compromise for ensuring players will find their own experiences in their in-game journeys.
PC Gamer
Cart Life

This year's GDC has been the source of many interesting industry tidbits. But forget them for now, because it also hosted two award shows last night. Shiny, slightly crass and easily digestible in a handy list format - we've got all the winners from the Independent Games Festival Awards and Game Developers Choice Awards right here. Did Hotline Miami's masked protagonist beat the living snot out of the FTL crew for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize? Did Incredipede's creepy-crawly monstrosities scare away the other Visual Art nominees? Did any game not called Journey win a GDC Award? Read on to find out.

We'll start with the IGF Awards, primarily because its the one that wasn't dominated by a PS3-exclusive game about plodding through a desert.

Independent Games Festival Awards

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games)
FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)
Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)
Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)
Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

Excellence in Visual Art

Incredipede (Northway Games and Thomas Shahan)
Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)
Guacalamelee! (Drinkbox Studios)
Loves in a Dangerous Spacetime (Asteroid Base)
Year Walk (Simogo)

Excellence in Narrative

Thirty Flights of Loving (Blendo Games)
Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)
Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)
Dys4ia (Auntie Pixelante)
Gone Home (The Fullbright Company)

Technical Excellence

StarForge (CodeHatch)
Perspective (DigiPen Widdershins)
Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)
Intrusion 2 (Aleksey Abramenko)
LiquidSketch (Tobias Neukom)

Excellence In Design

Samurai Gunn (Beau Blyth)
FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)
Starseed Pilgrim (Droqen & Ryan Roth)
Super Hexagon (Terry Cavanagh)
Super Space (David Scamehorn and Alexander Baard/DigiPen)

Excellence In Audio

Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)
Bad Hotel (Lucky Frame)
140 (Jeppe Carlsen)
Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games)
Pixeljunk 4AM (Q-Games)

Best Student Game

Back to Bed (Danish Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment)
Blackwell's Asylum (Danish Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment)
Knights of Pen & Paper (IESB - Instituto de Ensino Superior de Brasilia & UnB - Universidade de Brasilia)
the mindfulxp volume (Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center)
Pulse (Vancouver Film School)
Zineth (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

Nuovo Award

Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)
Spaceteam (Henry Smith)
Dys4ia (Auntie Pixelante)
Bientot l'ete (Tale of Tales)
7 Grand Steps (Mousechief)
MirrorMoon (SantaRagione + BloodyMonkey)
VESPER.5 (Michael Brough)
Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)

Audience Award
FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

Thoughts? Firstly, congratulations to Zineth, deserved winner of Best Student Game. It's great, and you should play it. More obviously, well done to Richard Hofmeier for the runaway success of Cart Life. I'm sure many will be surprised by just how well it's done, especially among such a strong list of contenders for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. If you're currently thinking "Cart What now?" let Christopher Livingston's Sim-plicity column on the game fill you in.

Elsewhere in the list, I'm surprised to see Little Inferno getting a Technical Excellence award (it had nice fire, I guess), unsurprised to see FTL nab the Audience Award, and marginally disappointed to see Hotline Miami go back to its DeLorean with nothing. Although, hey, it's still got a chance at a Games Developer Choice Award! Haha, no, just kidding. Journey won everything.

Game Developers Choice Awards

Game of the Year

Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)
Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Innovation Award

Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)
Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)
The Unfinished Swan (Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment)
ZombiU (Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft)

Best Audio

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games/Devolver Digital)
Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)
Assassin's Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)

Best Debut

Humble Hearts (Dust: An Elysian Tail)
Polytron Corporation (Fez)
Giant Sparrow (The Unfinished Swan)
Subset Games (FTL: Faster Than Light)
Fireproof Games (The Room )

Best Downloadable Game

The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)
Trials: Evolution (RedLynx/Microsoft Studios)
Mark Of The Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)
Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Best Game Design

Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
Mark Of The Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)
Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)
Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)

Best Handheld/Mobile Game

Gravity Rush (SCE Japan Studio/Sony Computer Entertainment)
Hero Academy (Robot Entertainment)
Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)
The Room (Fireproof Games)
Kid Icarus: Uprising (Sora/Nintendo)

Best Narrative

Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Entertainment/2K Games)
Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)
Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
Virtue's Last Reward (Chunsoft/Aksys Games)

Best Technology

Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
PlanetSide 2 (Sony Online Entertainment)
Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)
Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Treyarch/Activision)
Assassin's Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Best Visual Arts

Borderlands 2 (Gearbox Software/2K Games)
Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)
Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)

Ambassador Award
Chris Melissinos, curator of The Smithsonian's The Art of Video Games exhibit

Pioneer Award
Spacewar creator Steve Russell

Audience Award

Lifetime Achievement Award
BioWare founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk

Conclusion: award show judges really love Journey.
PC Gamer
Dishonored knife of dunwall

The day after the launch of Bioshock Infinite, it doesn't seem too controversial to suggest single-player games are alive and well. But - as the free-to-play funding model grows in popularity - there are numerous examples of developers doubling down on some form of online multiplayer content. Speaking to Game Industry, Dishonored co-director Harvey Smith says that he thinks that the overall audience for games is growing, leaving plenty of room for both types of experience.

"What people say each cycle is, 'Fill-in-the-blank is the new thing.' And if you're old enough, you remember when it was live-action video games," Smith said. "At another point it was MMOs. At another it was social games. At another it was multiplayer shooters.

"None of those things are bad; they're all great. But what the reality seems to be is we keep adding types of games and finding new player groups for those. The market seems to be expanding."

Smith points out that while the industry tends to focus on a specific area - right now the thriving free-to-play MOBA market - that doesn't stop players from appreciating more traditional genres too. "It seems like our attention focuses on the new thing, but in reality, there are still plenty of people that like a particular kind of game. Every time someone announces the death of the single-player game, something like The Sims or BioShock Infinite comes along and does different things well.

"So far we haven't capped out. It's not like DOTA fans are buying DOTA and not playing Skyrim, or buying Dishonored and therefore not buying Madden. I think there's a bunch of different audience types and we haven't even hit the limit yet."

The trick, Smith argues, is for developers - and publishers - to become comfortable focusing on the type of game they want to achieve, rather than needlessly bulking up a feature list. "I hope people are specializing and going deeper on given mechanics. And I actually hope it gets to the point where there are so many people competing - indie developers or commercial developers - and they're so good at this one thing they do that in order to win. You have to differentiate.

"You have to do something well that the other guy's not doing. That'd be nice, right? Instead of a handful of games that all try to do the same thing, I hope there's some specialization happening and people are going to have to do one thing well or three things well instead of trying to do the same 12 things everyone else is doing."

That's not to say Smith didn't receive messages from fans requesting multiplayer for Dishonored, but says people more frequently thanked him for keeping it a solo experience.
PC Gamer

Podcasting thrusters to max this week, as we discuss leadership changes at EA, BarCrafts, Lord British, Elder Scrolls Online, and the horror of extraterrestrial arachnids. They exist! For real!

Witness the beginning of the downfall of vertebrate life on PC Gamer Podcast 349 - Spiders in Space

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