PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to GOG survey results show customers’ reaction to DLC, DRM and pre-release alphas">Planetary Annihilation







Digital distributor GOG.com has been letting younger games, with their modern engines and loud dubstep, run loose amongst the traditionally older residents of its catalogue. The problem for the store is that this newer generation are into all sorts of weird stuff - DLC, episodic releases, and even online activation. Rather than just give the youth free reign, they sent out a survey to customers, asking them to vote on what is and isn't acceptable to sell. They've now published the results, providing an interesting look at how these often controversial industry aspects are being received.



In almost all cases, the surveyed customers voted in favour of the additions. That's somewhat surprising. GOG have historically focused on bringing old, DRM-free games to digital distribution, and creating bespoke special editions through bonus content. That might suggest a user base who would be sceptical of the modern industry's love of extending a game's life through additional post-release content. That, apparently, is not the case; although it's worth remembering that the survey wasn't set up to judge whether these features are popular or liked, just whether they should be allowed into GOG's catalogue.



Of the general survey questions, the most supported potential addition was DLC, followed by episodic games and "Early Access" alphas. All three got over a 60% positive response. DLC and Episodic Season Passes also got majority of support, although these proved more controversial, with 52.29% and 56.23% yes votes respectively.



The only proposed plans that failed to gain majority support were for non-MMO multiplayer games requiring some form of online activation to access. Serial Key protection was narrowly rejected - 50.47% said no - while a third-party account was overwhelmingly dismissed, with over 70% of respondents dismissing the idea. Understandable perhaps, except the response was quite different when users were given specifics.



Planetary Annihilation was offered as an example, with GOG noting that it's online and skirmish focused, DRM-free for offline, but also that: "A unique key is required for Internet multiplayer, and an account with the developer's service is only required for the persistent online features." Given this choice, almost 78% of respondents were happy for the game to be sold.



Which makes it hard to draw firm conclusions. At best, the thing to note is that, far from people being immovably against DLC, or even DRM, consumers are more interested in judging things on a case-by-case basis - and what bonuses they're being offered as a result of perceived negatives.



As for GOG, as well as assuring they'll be considerate with their offerings of DLC And episodic content, they conclude by saying, "any game that we bring you guys with persistent multiplayer features will be at least as offline-friendly as Planetary Annihilation is."



Full statistics below:



PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Defeat pirates as an old man in free yacht-based adventure game Barely Floating">barely floating







Stemshock Interactive's Barely Floating was released last year, as part of the pay-what-you-want Summerbatch adventure game bundle, but it's just been re-released with the price tag removed. What is Barely Floating? Well, apart from that . Barely Floating is a well-drawn 2-3 hour long adventure game, putting you in the slippers of a grumpy old man on a luxury yacht. Before you can say 'Speed 2: Cruise Control', the yacht is taken over by pirates, and it falls to you to put things right. Head here to do that, if you've remembered to pack enough humbugs and Werther's Originals for the trip.



Thanks to the splendid IndieGames for discovering this. Here's the original launch trailer, which suggests what a Die Hard film would be like if the hero was an increasingly miserable, bald old man. Oh wait.



PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Guild Wars 2 goes retro with free browser game Rytlock’s Critter Rampage">Rytlock GW2







PCG Towers has been plunged into darkness, after some malevolent external force - possibly a wizard? - left us trapped and without essential PC-powering electricity. Marsh has already fallen, his burning carcass providing the dim light by which the team manically scribbled pictures of desktops onto dusty notepads. Chris had glued on a crude Spotify window, before bursting out into a mental playlist of show-tunes.



Before the next sacrifice could be chosen, I escaped through a half-covered trap-door into a creaky basement. It was in this warren of tunnels I found it - a glowing orb of pure power. I plugged in my laptop, and behold! Electric! Internet! Life!



I should send an SOS, so that the madness upstairs can be stopped. But hey, look! ArenaNet have turned the 2D platformer from their Super Adventure Box trailer into a browser game that you can play right now.



"In the opening shot of our commercial (which is based on this incredible classic video game commercial) we needed to show our young actor beating a 16-bit platform game," explains ArenaNet's Cinematics lead Matthew Oswald. "The game needed to look like it was being played on an older revision of the 'Super Adventure Box.' (Think SNES to N64) So, we came up with a game called Rytlock’s Critter Rampage.



"Originally, we just wanted to build out a couple sprites to fake the game in After Effects, but one of the cinematic artists on my team (Delly Sartika) has long harbored an interest in building his own retro platformer, so he volunteered to build out a playable version of our totally fake game."



The resulting game is uncompromisingly hard. But, if you can make enough progress to not smack the window shut with an angry Alt+F4, you'll find secret routes and giant deadly rabbit beasts. You can also kick a snake in the face, so it's worth a quick go just to realise that lifelong dream.



Play Rytlock's Critter Rampage right here.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Legend of Grimrock 2: first screenshot shows pleasant outdoor environs">forest_1080p-1024x576







When it released last year, Legend of Grimrock was a loving throwback to a simpler age: back when dungeons were proper bloody dungeons. Back when dungeons were dark, repetitive, difficult to navigate without a map and full of giant spiders. So it may come as a surprise that this first screenshot for Legend of Grimrock 2 depicts an ethereal outdoor forest setting (there's a castle -- no doubt containing a proper bloody dungeon -- just behind those trees though).



The folk at Almost Human posted it on the official Grimrock website last month. They didn't provide any further context, but it does suggest that you'll be able to venture outside of dungeons in this game.



In an earlier blog post, the team discuss some ideas for the sequel that were ultimately given the chop, including roguelike elements and a world map dotted with "towns, villages and adventuring locations." It's an interesting read.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Trippy puzzle shoot-’em-up Dyad can be ‘ad on PC next week">dyad







We already knew that Dyad was coming to PC, but we didn't know exactly when. Now, thanks to a very beardy announcement video by its creator Shawn McGrath, we do. The inventive shmup/puzzle/miscellaneous thing-a-majig is coming to Steam and GOG this Wednesday, otherwise known as April 24th. I have no idea how to describe it, so I'm going to plagiarise our Phil Savage and call it "a game in which you hook and lance your multi-coloured enemies to build speed and complete a variety of objectives." To me, it looks like a Windows Media Player visualiser - but a very pretty one indeed.



As is traditional, Dyad will cost 10% less on Steam and GOG during the first week of sale, but if you pre-order through GOG you'll save another 10% on top of that. Speaking of which, here's a rather beautiful pre-order trailer.



(Thanks, Polygon.)



PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Sir, You Are Being Hunted trailers show hiding, scrounging, marmalade and ham">Sir, You Are Hiding Behind A Fence







It's Sunday, it's (sorta) sunny - it's the perfect time for a picnic on the procedurally generated moors of Sir, You Are Being Hunted. Only instead of pork pies and jam sandwiches, there's a gang of tweed-clad robot maniacs looking to tear you limb from limb. Ah, that brings me back to the Sykes family outings of my youth. These twin gameplay videos show new footage of the (seemingly not too far off being complete) first-person stealth game, one with commentary, the other more indicative of how the game will actually play. Sir, you are being directed beneath the break.



A reminder: Sir, You Are Being Hunted is now available to pre-order, an act that will grant you access to the second round of testing sometime this Summer. Now without further ado, here's what SYABH looks like in its current form. (Jolly atmopsheric, I'd say.)



Cheers, RPS.







PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The Pulse Pounding Heart Stopping Dating Sim Jam: a romantic round-up">Jurassic Heart







Article by Philippa Warr



The Pulse Pounding Heart Stopping Dating Sim Jam dating sims are varied, and that's putting it mildly. With over eighty projects submitted thus far, the brief "Make some dating sims!!!" has yielded heartfelt autobiographical adventures, social commentary and a lot of things which are best described as bonkers. In both senses. There is also a veritable platoon of sims built around the concept "you are an x trying to hit on a y - good luck with that!" Realising this, the only logical thing to do was play them through one after the other as the world's strangest fictional online speed dating service.



I put on my robe and wizard hat and headed off to investigate...



Six Sides of Seduction - Callum Buckmaster







"I can't," I type. "I am busy seducing a hexagon. Also I have renamed it a 'sexagon'."



I re-read those sentences. Somehow this does not seem like an appropriate response to an invitation to the pub from a real life friend on a Friday night. I hit delete and start again.



"I am playing something adjacent to interactive romantica or possibly erotica for work."



Still not right.



"Maybe you could come over to mine instead and help me hit on the contents of the internet's imagination from the safety of a slightly odd article premise?"



Delete.



"I'm broke. Maybe next week."





Riflebird Game - Sebastian Wright







Call Me Maybe is blaring from the speakers of my laptop and I am doing the best dancing of my adult life. I am doing it by pressing A, D and the arrow keys which makes the male Victoria's Riflebird onscreen flap its wings, hop left and right and generally carry on like Justin Timberlake before he became a big cheese at MySpace. This is exhilarating. FLAP FLAP SHIMMY!



In my excitement I accidentally attract a lady Riflebird and the game asks her to rate my performance. Given I, the unreliable narrator of the piece, am playing alone I must judge my own dance routine. "NICE!" I select, impartially.



This may have been a tactical error. The female Riflebird is now hanging around, cramping my style. I get rid of her as quickly as possible (we have a perfunctory disco branch liaison and she flees the scene). I decide the world is not ready to be deprived of my dance skills just yet and stay in the MS Paint forest, flapping and shimmying to some of the greatest pop music of our age. I am not willing to admit how long this went on for. Just know that it was glorious.





Repopulation Date Night - Kelly Hoolihan







The Empire's Crystal Gardens are a beautiful location for a date. As I think this I immediately feel a twinge of guilt at having abandoned my own date - a mutated bat, since you ask - at the entrance to the rainbow-hued area. She is squeaking, trying to scope out the joint using sonar as I, somewhat insensitively, comment on the beauty she cannot possibly discern. It is fairly safe to say this is not going well, but then again what do you really expect from a date explained by the game as arising from an Imperial eugenics program?



A guard, perhaps hoping to intervene and save the courtship, escorts the two of us to a private grotto with a natural hot tub. I assume this is what it's like being at the Playboy Mansion.



Suddenly the mutated bat grabs me and pulls me underwater. From the flavour text I get that she's trying to be all playful and adorable but, y'know what? This is exactly how the Brides in the Bath killer used to operate - grabbing women's feet and jerking them underwater so they would lose consciousness instantly and then drown.



Somewhere between the sonar, the abandonment, the eugenics and the fact I went through a phase of reading Wikipedia articles on serial killers, I fear this date is beyond saving.





Cuddlefish - Ms Tea







A male cuttlefish is stroking me with his .



This is slightly awkward because I too am a male cuttlefish and we are both seeking the attentions of a lady cuttlefish. The confusion has arisen because I was scared of the other male cuttlefish on account of his size and promptly disguised myself as a lady cuttlefish, changing my skin colour to something a little more feminine and hiding my two most manly tentacles from view. But what began as a fishtank farce swiftly enters darker waters. The stroking turns to probing and it occurs to me that the costume change may have been an error of judgement.



I am proven right when another click of the mouse leads to a situation the cuttlefish legal system might not be up to the challenge of unpicking.



I swim away, feeling disoriented and trying to work out whether his constituted the date. Was this satire? Immediately a bashful lady cuttlefish shows up. In my confused state I hit on her and the situation escalates almost as rapidly as with the male.



"You reach out with your ..."



I can't help but think cuttlefish would have a far healthier dating scene if they kept their to themselves for five minutes.





Splendidest Otoge - Lore and Neon







"I am more human than cake now," explains a tiramisu. I think he is trying to reassure me.



I am in the guise of a baker at this point and my skills are such that the dessert I created and stored in the fridge has now come to life and is harbouring romantic intentions towards me.



Initially the arrangement seemed a bit 'Doctor Frankenstein goes to cookery school' but as time passes I realise that, as both progenitor and love interest, the sim has cast me as Jocasta of Thebes in a chef's hat while the cake plays the part of Oedipus.



But, despite the high drama of Sophocles' plays on exactly the same subject, nothing tragic actually happens to my characters. Disappointed, I take matters into my own hands and imagine a future wherein we had a couple of choux bun baby boys who ripped the bakery business apart in their fight over who would inherit it and a raisin-encrusted daughter called Antiscone (which, by the way, sets the bar for pun references to Greek tragedy and baked goods on PC Gamer pretty low) who ends up expiring, trapped in her own presentation box.





Jurassic Heart - Hima







It's getting late but I adjust my meat hairclip (not a euphemism) and smile up at the Tyrannosaurus rex. The dinosaur blushes and asks whether we can hang out a little while longer. Sure! This is actually the most normal date I have been on all evening. We also seem to have a lot in common - namely a fondness for talking about meat.



But the early promise of the grilled chicken part of the evening is over all too quickly and the T-rex starts telling a terribly sad story about some kind of ukulele-based trauma he suffered as a child. Whither the barbequed foodstuff chitchat, T-rex? Alas the game provides no opportunity for storming off to the nearest rib shack alone so I am forced to stay, empathising and generally being a Good Person.



At the point when the T-rex begins serenading me with his new ukulele I decide to draw the digital dating session to a close. The meat chat has made me pretty hungry and I consider cooking something but the fridge which contains tonight's dinner is now off limits in case any foodstuffs decide to come to life and try their luck. Down on my options I do the only sensible thing and make my way back to the MS Paint rainforest.



This is going to be a spectacular one woman dance-a-thon.





PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Mod of the Week: gmDoom for Garry’s Mod">gDoom for Half Life 2







Omri mentioned a mod called gmDoom last month, which allows you to bring the Doom experience, including weapons, enemies, HUD, and entities, into Garry's Mod. After watching a few weeks pass as bugs were squashed and updates were released, I decided it was finally time to pull-start this particular chainsaw and take it for a spin. I also decided, instead of just playing around, to really play. Specifically, I wanted to play through the entirety of the Half-Life 2 campaign, using only the gmDoom HUD and weapons. Space Marine, welcome to City 17!



Hm? What? Who? Space Marine is skeptical.



After getting off the train in City 17, I realize how happy I am to be an angry, violent Space Marine instead of a befuddled, bespectacled scientist. Gordon Freeman didn't pick up a weapon until a good half-hour into Half-Life 2, but Doomguy is always packing a pistol, a chainsaw, and his fists. Rather than wandering through the beginning of the game, helplessly watching as citizens are abused at the hands of the Metrocops, I can immediately right some wrongs by applying a healthy dose of SPACE VIOLENCE.



So, when I see a Metrocop shove a citizen, I punch him to death (the Metrocop, to be clear). That annoying flying camera robot gets a taste from my pistol. What's this? Other cops, standing around doing nothing violent? Not on my watch! They die. I approach a couple citizens as well, just to see if weapons work on them too. (Weapons work on them too.) Oh, and that cop who tries to make me pick up a soda can and put it in the garbage? I saved the chainsaw for him.



Marines. Always. Recycle.



Before long, I'm in the canals, fighting enemies who can actually fight back. It mostly works well: the weapons are effective and feel natural after a few minutes of play, though you have to be pretty darn precise with your aim for long-distance kills. It's also a genuinely neat experience: the sights and sounds of the throwback Doom weapons mixed with the atmosphere and enemies of Half-Life 2. It's double-nostalgic. It's like combining two tastes I love, bacon and chocolate, into one violent, historic mouthful of video game.



Something else I notice: while it feels a little odd in this day and age to play a game where you're constantly staring at your own face, it does make your health quite a priority. Instead of a percentage or a colored bar, you get to look at your sad mug streaked with blood, a pretty visceral reminder that it's not your health meter taking damage: it's your own face. Finding medkits feels a lot more urgent when you're hurt so bad your hair is bleeding.



Space Marine needs food, badly.



Ammo for my Doom weapons, naturally, is not stocked in City 17, so I just spawn some for myself from the Garry's Mod menu when I run out. I try to also give myself new weapons when it feels appropriate. When Metrocops start using machine guns, for example, I give myself Doom's chaingun. When I remember that you don't get a shotgun until you get to Ravenholm, I give myself one anyway, because screw that.



After escaping City 17, I wind up deciding to skip the second half of the canal levels. Making a Space Marine drive a crummy boat powered by a fan just seems insulting. It's like making Willy Wonka eat a celery stick. He knows not of, and cares not for, such primitive tools. Fast-forward, then, to Ravenholm!



Plus a quick stop in Black Mesa East to kill a disgusting alien. You're welcome, Vance family!



In the zombie-patrolled streets of Ravenholm, our Space Marine seems quite comfy. Hideous shambling monsters, blood, gore, horror: these are what Doomguy was made for. I admit, I do pine for the Gravity Gun, because flinging giant circular blades into zombies is still awesome. The super shotgun works just fine, though.



These zombies don't shoot back? You got off easy this time, Earth.



After blasting my way through Ravenholm with kindred spirit Father Gregori, I decide to skip the driving sections of HL2 as well, mostly because the driving feels like 100% Half-Life 2 and 0% Doom, and the mix is what's really making this fun. I skip to the lighthouse at the end of the coastal maps, and dig in with the resistance as they fight off the Combine attack.



After defeating a few waves of drop-ship soldiers, I run into a little problem when the Synth Gunship arrives. I've given myself Doom 2's rocket launcher, but it only fires in a straight line, as opposed to HL2's laser-guided launcher. The Gunship doesn't shoot my rockets down, but there's no need: I keep missing because the Gunship keeps moving. Try as I might, I just can't hit the sucker. He, however, has no problem hitting me. It's time to call in reinforcements.



No shame in a Marine calling for backup. SPACE backup.



I use G-Mod to spawn a Doom Cyberdemon-- shut up, that is TOTALLY FAIR-- and the gunship and the Cyberdemon immediately decide they hate each other. (Isn't introducing one enemy to another enemy always awkward, like when your work friends meet your personal friends?) Unfortunately, the Cyberdemon is also unable to hit the gunship. Finally, exasperated, I just take out my G-Mod physics tool and hold the stupid gunship in place, letting the demon blast it to pieces. ALSO FAIR.



Hold still. This will only hurt a lot.



And, having used a physics tool from 2006 to help a cyborg demon from 1993 kill a biosynthetic airship from 2004... that's where my play-through of Half-Life2 abruptly comes to an end. It was a fun experiment, sure, but holding a three-dimensional gunship in the sky with my finger so a two-dimensional demon can whomp on it serves as a massive reminder: I don't just have two great games to play with here, I've got three, and I've all but forgotten about the Garry's Mod part of the experience. I've been eating bacon and chocolate, YES, but I've been completely neglecting the GLORIOUS BOTTLE OF BOURBON sitting right there to wash it all down with.



Time to switch from playing Half-Doom 2 and start playing a game I call Make Everything Fight Everything Else By The Lighthouse For Six Straight Hours!



Combine vs. Heavy Weapon Dudes!



The Combine win!



Pinky vs. Combine!



Pinky wins!



Arch-vile vs. Antlion Guard!



Antlion Guard wins -- but Arch-vile really does raise the dead Doom monsters! Awesome.



Antlion Guard vs. Spiderdemon!



Spiderdemon wins (eventually)!



Helicopter vs. Pain Elementals and Lost Souls!



Draw. Spawned helicopter doesn't seem to ever die, and Pain Elementals never seem run out of Lost Souls.



After making Everything fight Everything Else for six hours, I do, eventually, return to Half-Life 2 proper, mainly to see if I can take down a Strider with a Doom 2 rocket launcher (I can, and quite handily) and to try out the plasma cannon on the Combine (it works amazingly well). And, of course, to unleash the BFG on a store-front full of Combine soldiers.



Looks like the store... *sunglasses* ...is CLOSED.



Putting this mod into that other mod and putting both mods into Half-Life 2 is amazing. Do it! Do it now!



Installation: Mostly simple! However, you'll need a WAD file from one of the Doom games to import all the assets. If you don't own a Doom game, you can use a WAD file from the free shareware version of Doom and still get most of the weapons (I used Doom2.wad; full list of what the various WAD files give you access to here). Drop the WAD in the garrysmod/garrysmod folder in your Steam directory. Then, just subscribe to the mod on Steam Workshop and when you boot up Garry's Mod, it will be enabled. You can spawn all your weapons and monsters from the menu by pressing Q, and enable the HUD using the console code doom_cl_hud 1.



Also, and perhaps this is obvious, but you'll need Half-Life 2 installed for all the Half-Life 2 stuff.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Let’s Reboot… System Shock">Shodan_SystemShock







“Let’s Reboot” takes a look back at a classic in need of a new outing or a beloved series gone stale and asks how it might be best redesigned or given a kick up the backside for today’s gaming audience. The Rules: Assume a free hand, and a decent budget, but realistic technology and expectations. This week’s sacred cow – the cyberpunk adventure from 1994 that sparked the 'Shock series.



Ken Levine. Kenny Lovin’. Kenbo Baggins. The Manly Jowelbeast. I recall an interview with King Divine, in which he said that System Shock 2 was not, contrary to all common sense, a perfectly-realised vision of the authors’ intent. That the monotonous corridors of System Shock 2’s Von Braun were as much a product of technical limitations, as the thundering powerhouse of the creativity behind it. Learning this, I had a brief teenage response. I felt like a Belieber trying to process Justin tweeting, “Did I say I love my fans? Naw. They’re dicks, and that includes hypothetical ones like Anne Frank. #worldwarPOOmorelike”



I wanted to defend SS2 against one of the guys who made it.



That’s an argument I’d probably lose, so let’s just reboot the bugger. Commence spoiler warning klaxon for System Shock 1, 2 and BioShock Infinite: AROOGA AROOGA AROOGA etc.



WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A ROGUE AI LIKE SHODAN?



"What can we do with Shodan that hasn’t already been pre-empted by GLaDOS?"

You can hear Shodan’s tame, morality-restricted voice during the optional intro to System Shock 1. And at the risk of spoiling a 14-year-old game, at the end of System Shock 2, she collapses cyber and meat-spaces to occupy the body of Rebecca, turning her into a kind of hard-wired fusion of Tron’s MCP and Bonnie Tyler. One of the best moment of going back to SS1 is watching that optional intro, and hearing her voice change as she narrates the story of the hacker removing her morals.



But what can we do with Shodan that hasn’t already been pre-empted by GLaDOS’ tale of unexpected humanity, humility, and anti-redemption?



How not to do Shodan:



1. Law Of The West-style conversation simulator, in which Shodan and minor SS2 character Tommy share awkward chats as the AI discovers her new sexual urges;



2. Multiple body-swap comedy in which she learns how difficult it is to be a Californian teenager, a rock star, and a single mum;



3. Endlessly looping animated GIF of Shodan's face slowly appearing and disappearing from Anton Corbijn’s iconic 1981 photo of Kate Bush.



I'll bust more than your clouds mate



Look: it’s fine, but it’s not a video game.



So, why not make Shodan the playable character? She’s totemic enough to step around that pervasive bullshit about gamers not wanting to play women, in case we all start spontaneously trans-identifying, or something.



Plus, in the body of Rebecca, she’s a total unaugmented newcomer to meatspace, a perfect way to put her at the bottom of the skill tree. Stranded in her new body, her only access to computers would be hacking - a process that would be disgusting to her. Imagine having to use arthritic bones, where once was a sheer force of will.



"Potato-GLaDOS was sympathetic. Shodan's tale could be a study in psychopathy."

This might seem like I’m trying to turn System Shock into a comedy. Insane, ambitious evil is innately comical when it’s powerless - but that’s forgetting her sinister history with comedy. She was powerless in SS2. She needed you, and it actually was pretty funny that even then, she couldn't hold back the insults.



Besides, even Portal 2 didn't plunder the comedy mine of malevolent impotence too deeply. For potato-GLaDOS, it was a chance for sympathy. Shodan's tale could be a study in human psychopathy: there are real people who think like Shodan. The bastards run the world. And being a psychopath would reduce the sense of disconnect, when the inevitable “snap their spines, slashing blood across the screen” moment comes, as it probably must.



You’d need a mutual cause to give Shodan an air of possible redemption - and as the player, we’d need to believe there’s genuine conflict between the megalomaniac AI, and the new unaccustomed waves of hormones and humanity.



(Again, GLaDOS has taken the best line, with “Caroline deleted”. Note to self: ask Valve if System Shock can be part of the Half-Life multiverse. Half-Life 3, maybe. Cool? Cool.)







BUILD A GRAND UNIFYING THEORY OF *SHOCK



Bioshock Infinite’s Sea of Doors was a massive pull-back-to-reveal that can’t ever be matched in the Bioshock universe. You really get the feeling it was a final defiant piss on the franchise that was Irrational’s way of saying, “Oh, you just try another Bioshock 2.”



Is there room for another, crashing, pull back? Can we fold System Shock into the world of lighthouses, men, and doors? “There’s always a sentient thing, there's always a location. And space. That’s just how it works in this, even more generalised, multiverse.” Shodan collapses meat and cyber in the same way Elizabeth collapses branching universes - they could be distant relatives.



OK. Maybe not. In that case, I've got another idea:



OH MY GOD GUYS WHAT ABOUT A MINI-SERIES



Bioshock Infinite didn’t feel to me to be quite as important as it wanted to be. I’m aware that there are dozens of people more intelligent, sexy and taller than me who feel otherwise. But taken on plot alone, it felt like a Doctor Who season finale. This similarity includes the fact that my family still look at me like a demented adult baby because I tell them to shut up on Christmas day while we all watch a kid’s TV show. Only, you know, with this it's my choice of career.



Moving on - I would love the same prolonged sense of “what’s going on?” that Doctor Who gives. I loved the post-ending discussions of Bioshock Infinite more than I liked the actual ending. Imagine three months of constant System Shock speculation, forum chat, talking to strangers in ATM queues. I know the episodic thing is tough, and nowhere more so in the world of shooters. Half-Life, Sin, s'up. So why not stuff shooting - shall we just give System Shock to TellTale?



You want a real 1999 mode? In 1999, LucasArts had just made Grim Fandango.



"Cyberspace is a location with unrealised potential, a place where imagination is tangible."

WHERE IS IT SET?



Irrational have built a fantastical rod for their back with locations. But we've already got a location with unrealised potential, here. Cyberspace. A revamped Cyberspace could go further than the aesthetics of Monolith's Tron 2.0. It could be a place where imagination is tangible. And god knows, you could seed endless stuff in the environment when it's all conjured by the perception of an unreliable narrator. In fact, this could be the solution to the another annoying problem:



FIND THAT ALTERNATIVE TO AUDIOLOGS



I really don't like audiologs. I don't like the acting in them, because there's something about pretending to record their thoughts in this way that always rings hollow. And I don't like the fact that finding one creates an artificial zone of in-game safety, because you know the writers will get snippy if combat happens over their precious story.



(Either that, or they make it so the audiologs fade out as you walk away, and that can sod off twice as hard.)



CONCLUSION



OK: so I've been all over the place, here. But I've settled on this - a serialised TellTale adventure, in the vein of Walking Dead, that flips between the perspectives of a disempowered Shodan and a Rebecca finding her feet in Cyberspace. They're racing to Earth - Shodan to become a god, Rebecca to get her body back. Of course, many exciting things will happen on the way, but I'm not the details man. Someone start the Kickstarter and send me ten million when it’s the most popular game in the world. I'm off to eat a bunch of grapes.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to TBT: The Black Tower is a 90s-style RPG inspired by Final Fantasy, giant swords">TBT The Black Tower







I occasionally get nostalgic for the PlayStation-era Final Fantasy games - a feeling that generally passes when I play a PlayStation-era Final Fantasy game and find my patience tested within the first minute. Having said that, I'm intrigued by TBT: The Black Tower, an upcoming RPG with more pre-rendered backdrops and oversized swords than you can shake a bunch of Gysahl Greens at. If you understood the reference, you may proceed past the break, where I will tell you more things about this French take on a very Japanese genre.



I'm assuming TBT stands for The Black Tower (but if so, why the subtitle?), however I know that it revolves around Yan Forté, "a kind of ranger" who lives in the woods in the year 2032. There's some business about a "strange alien Cube" and "Ellana, a young girl with a strange black Die as a pendant around the neck", but the three-person development team is going to need to shove a few more ancient gods, magical eight-year-olds and giant yellow birds in there if they're going to compete with the Final Fantasy series.



The Black Tower will have links to Simon Mesnard's ASA: A Space Adventure, a Myst-esque adventure game with a similarly loose grasp on the whole subtitle thing. TBT is still very early in development, but that doesn't mean you can't vote for it on Steam Greenlight, await the crowdfunding campaign in May, or watch the prototype video, below.



Thanks to IndieGames.



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