PC Gamer
DRM's the hideous multi-tendriled monster PC gamers pump shotgun blasts into while bellowing "Why! Won't! You! Diiiiiiie!" And, questionable punctuation aside, it's a good question. DRM gives legitimate customers no end of trouble while providing pirates with an allegedly righteous cause for their actions. In the cases of companies like Ubisoft, it's utterly baffling. What gives? Do publishers hate our money?

Obviously not. However, according to Paradox Interactive CEO Fred Wester, we can't aim our pitchforks and torches entirely at maniacally monolithic companies that erupt in a din of evil cackling and ominous lightning strikes each time someone's booted back to a start screen. Business, he says, isn't such a one-sided game.

"I think there’s a lot of politics, especially in bigger companies," Wester said in an interview with GameSpy. "If you’re a CEO, you need to cover your back. And the people who ask, the board, know nothing about games. They’re there because they’re some investment company or something, and they ask 'So what are you doing to protect our game from pirates?' And then they can reply 'We’re buying this solution from Sony.'

Even so, Wester finds the whole "solution" to be incredibly counter-productive from both a business and consumer-centric standpoint.

"I just can’t see why people are using DRM still," he continued. "If you take something like Sony’s DRM, SecuROM - it’s a waste of money. It will keep you protected for three days, it will create a lot of technical support, and it will not increase sales. And I know this for a fact, because we tried it eight years ago, and it never worked for us. Two major reasons: it costs money and it makes you lose money, and the other is that it’s so inconvenient to customers."

"Now, I see no reasonable explanation for why people keep on adding it. Especially the kind where you have to be online all the time, like Ubisoft. I think that’s, to me that’s 2003."
PC Gamer


The Stars are Left adds several sinister new campaign missions to Magicka, complete with tentacled Lovecraftian bosses, new enemies and new outfits. The pack also comes with a couple of challenge maps and there's a new trailer, which may be the first H. P. Lovecraft/film noir comedy crossover film ever made. Hopefully it's not the last. The Stars are Left is available now for £3.99 / $5.99 on Steam and Gamersate.
PC Gamer
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‘Tis a grand weekend for indie gaming on Steam. In addition to the Super Meat Boy Pack, bonkers co-op RPG Magicka is free until 9pm on Sunday, and, yes, developers Arrowhead Game Studios have fixed most of the bugs. There’s also a wizard’s sleeve worth of offers on Steam, including Magicka itself for £1.99, a four-pack for you and three chums for £5.99, and the Magicka Collection - including all DLC - for £4.24. Magic!

Just go here to download it.
PC Gamer


Rock Paper Shotgun have spotted a trailer for Magikca's new expansion, The Stars Are Left. It promises, in typical Magicka style, the chance to 'kick Lovecraftian butt' in a new campaign. Time to get those ARSE mines ready, they are the only thing cosmic horrors truly fear.

Along with the paid expansion, there'll also be a massive free patch that addresses a number of issues with the game, improves the visuals and makes the whole thing far more user friendly. Full patch notes inside.

Fairy familiar added, revives characters after death occurs in solo campaign
Checkpoints now save progress even if game is quit
Chapter select added to replay previously played chapters
Several improvements to the server browser
Physics and collision detection improved - less falling through the floor
Frame rate stuttering - should be less noticeable for some users
Extended particle system with particle lights
Improved light performance
Several minor bug fixes, game balance, and tweaks

Will you be picking up Magicka again for the new expansion?
PC Gamer
Ah Magicka, with your completely bonkers expansions. Joining this year’s Vietnam is The Stars are Left, a ‘spandey based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, spotted over on RPS. Scheduled to launch this winter, it includes a new adventure campaign, which is one of the most requested features for the co-op spell ‘em up.

Like Vietnam, only the host player needs the expansion for others to join in - an act described by developer Arrowhead Studios’ colleagues as, “More insane than a black goat with a thousand young.” We don’t believe for one minute that anyone actually said that.

It also makes fun of Minecraft. Magicka is rapidly becoming the Naked Gun series of computer games.

Here are some bullet points, if you’re into that kind of thing:

An all-new adventure, several levels long, allowing players to get lost in space and time
2 new challenge maps
2 new robes
2 new bosses
5 new achievements
7 new enemies
Considerably more than 2 new items and Magicks
Also, we make fun of Minecraft this time
PC Gamer
Wizarding adventure Magicka might have gone on to sell 600,000 copies, but the game had a rocky start. When the game first launched, players experienced bugs that made it basically unplayable in both singleplayer and multiplayer, and it was weeks before it was stable.

At E3 last month, I spoke to Emil Englund, one of the founders of developers Arrowhead Game Studios, and asked him how the buggy launch happened.

PC Gamer: When the first game out it had quite a few bugs, how did that happen?

Emil Englund: Oh, I mean, you have to start from the beginning. First of all, we were students, we were a very small team. We didn't have any experience. We started working with Microsoft XNA initially, and we were looking at the XBox, and then halfway through we changed to the PC. So, I mean, already there you have a foundation for a lot of bugs. Combined with not having a lot of resources to try the game on different platforms, you know. I read an article in Game Developer Magazine about the Civilization 5 development, and they said, 'Oh, and we had engineers from Nvidia and AMD at our office who constantly helped us try the game on the different graphics cards.' We didn't have that. So it's kind of hard for us to do everything right from the get go.

Also, some other things. We didn't know the game was being released, the time that it did. It's kind of stupid, but we thought it was released the day after or something. And all of a sudden someone says, "It's live!" And we were working on the Day One patch already. We're like, "What!?" We had like three hours where the game pretty much didn't work because we hadn't got out there with the release patch. There were a few bugs that snuck through at the end. We had them fixed, but it wasn't distributed to Steam. It was a nightmare.

And then, of course, there were a lot of other bugs as well. Many of the bugs were simply things we hadn't noticed. We had beta testing, but nobody reported it, so we didn't find it. So the only thing we could do was promise everybody we were going to patch this a lot. Which we did. We pretty much lived at the office the first two weeks and just kept pushing out patches each day, to fix as much as possible just to show our good will. And it seemed to work out. People appreciated it, and we kept patching, only we had to put more and more space in between the patches. Right now, we have a lot better quality assurance about patches as well, to make sure that the new patches don't break the game further.

But yeah, working with XNA wasn't really helping us. And right now we have a lot more resources. I mean, Paradox is helping out a lot as well. If we need somebody that knows more about something, they'll help to get a contact for us to talk to, and that has increased quality for DLC and patches.

Magicka is now polished, and last month Arrowhead pushed out an enormous free update adding PvP. I asked Emil what had changed for them since the game's success.

PC Gamer: The game has sold 600k copies so far. How has that changed your lives?

Emil Englund:Oh, we actually have a salary now, which we didn't before. We had a really low one towards the end so we could actually pay our rent, and buy food without loaning from parents. Right now we have salaries so we can live regular lives. We managed to employ some more people. We've grown from 7 to 11 since release, which is always fun, to bring some fresh blood aboard. And I don't know, it's kinda strange, sometimes I just don't get how much we've sold, how successful the release has been. And though there were a lot of issues, we have more plans for the future, there's a lot more stability in the company now. I mean, there was no money in it at all at the start. Right now, we at least feel we might be able to get somewhere. I guess that's the main thing, that we have a salary, so we can live ordinary lives.

Magicka is available through Steam for £8.
PC Gamer
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The recent Steam Summer Camp Sale has brought new achievements and in-game rewards, along with a bumper selection of cheap games. Today is "Encore Day!" Unless Valve go for a stadium-satisfying multi-encore finish, it's your final chance to download a bargain. All the games are picked from the week's top sellers.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 for £4.99/$7.50, Terraria for £2.99/$4.99 and Magicka for £2.71/$3.39? Yes please. Click through for more details of today's deals.

You've got just over six hours to grab these bargains:

Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition - £7.50/$7.50

Just Cause 2 - £3.49/$4.99

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 - £5.00/$7:50

Sanctum - £2.49/$3.75

Portal 2 - £14.99/$24.99

Dawn of War: Retribution - £14.99/$14.99

Total War: Shogun 2 - £17.99/$29.99

The Witcher 2 - £23.44/$33.49

Terraria - £2.99/$4.99

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood - £14.99/$19.99

Fallout New Vegas - £8.99/$14.99

Two Worlds 2 - £8.50/$17.00

Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes from Liberty City - £6.24/$9.99

Magicka - £2.71/$3.39

What's the best bargain you've ever picked up in a Steam sale? Back in 2008, £6.99 was a great price for Team Fortress 2. How naive.
PC Gamer
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Free games! Everyone loves free games right? Well we've giving some away! We've got a big stack of Steam codes for Paradox Interactive games sitting here, and we thought we'd share them with you.

Details on how to enter are inside.

There's three different games on offer, choose from:

Magicka - Hilarious isometric game of infinite spells - check out our review
Sword of the Stars: Complete Collection - a massive space based strategy game with an emphasis on fleet combat
King Arthur: The Role Playing Wargame - Total War style strategy mixed with RPG elements and a fantastic setting

To enter, comment below and tell us this:

If you were one of King Arthur's knights, what would you quest for?

European entrants only. Competition ends in one week. If you win you will be notified by private message and your name will appear in this week’s winners. Good luck!
PC Gamer
Paradox Interactive
Recently, at E3, we got the chance to catch up with the CEO of Paradox Interactive, Fredrik Wester to discuss the company's recent success with Magicka, Mount and Blade and King Arthur. Wester revealed that 90% of Paradox' revenue is now made through digital distribution sales. He describes the company's lack of reliance on retail as "a release," saying that store chains have "not been good for the creative part of the industry."

Wester told us that "this year we’re close to ninety percent of our revenue being digital. Retail sales are like a bonus for us now. We don’t really need retailers any more and that is a release because retailers have not been good for the industry. They’ve not been good for the creative part of the industry, for finding new cool games."

"People complain to publishers that there are only sequels on the market, but that’s because retailers want to see sequels, because they can do their chart diagrams for how things sell and things like that. So one of the things preventing more creative gaming has been the retail challenge."

"I can only say this now because we’re not depending on them, so it’s really relieving to be able to say that."

Wester told us that Steam is Paradox' main partner, followed by Gamersgate. Paradox has recently had big success with Magicka, which as sold more than 600,000 copies since release, and is set to hit a million sales before the end of the year. The entire Paradox catalogue is currently enjoying a 90% as part of the Steam summer sale. You can grab the lot for $74.99 / £55.
PC Gamer

If you read Arrowhead Game's Magicka dev diary right here on PCGamer.com yesterday, you'll know that the free PvP is out now. However, you might have have missed the Tarantino inspired trailer. It shows just one way in which wizards can fall out. The other is just to play Magicka's story mode, where friendly fire kills almost as many wizards as the hordes of enemies you're trying to obliterate.

The PvP mode comes with free two arenas, the Training Ground and the Havindir Arena. Each can host scraps with three different rule-sets. Classic deathmatch is a fiery free-for-all mode in which the last wizard standing wins. Brawl mode lets you form teams, but limits each player to a set number of lives. Krietor mode unlocks more powerful spells as the round progresses, and is named after the modder who invented it.

Three other maps can also be bought on Steam. The Frozen Lake (guess where that's set) combines unsure footing with a high probability of drowning to create a recipe for Magicka comedy, while The Watchtower map stages a battle at the top of a huge tower. To quote the Steam blurb, "The absense of a railing on a mountaintop ruin provides new environmental hazzard." These maps cost £1.50 / $1.99 each.

The third map is called Final Frontier, and has an extremely familiar sci-fi setting. It comes with an extra wizard robe, a "deadly duel staff" and boasts "fantastic quality props" for "Increased nerd factor." For maximum nerd factor, play this in the background while you fight. The Final Frontier is a little more substantial, thanks to the additional items, so that's priced at £1.99 / $2.99.

There's also a new Party Robes pack that adds three new wizard outfits, designed to improve your wizards' survival rate in co-op. The tank robe turns your wizard into an armoured powerhouse, the rogue robe can cloak on the battlefield and the support robe buffs the spellcasting power of those around the wearer - surely not a good robe to wear to a PvP fight.

As with all Magicka DLC, it's possible to jump into the hosts paid-for maps even if you don't own them yourself. The DLC is also available to buy on Direct2Drive, Impulse, Green Man Gaming and more, you can get the full list here. If you want to get an edge in PvP, check out our pick of Magicka's best spells.