DOOM

Even though you won't be able to play Fallout 76 on Steam at launch, almost everything else in Bethesda's back catalogue is discounted on Valve's platform this weekend, just in time for QuakeCon 2018. 

While I can't find a dedicated Steam page for the sale just yet, probably because it began very recently and Dead Cells is currently occupying the homepage, you can see the discounts by heading to Bethesda's publisher page on Steam and scrolling down to 'specials'. Some highlights include Prey on-sale for £10/$15, and its roguelite-style DLC Mooncrash for $15/£9.74, which is 25% off. 2016's Doom is just $10/£7.49 (Fanatical has it slightly cheaper), which is reasonable for what's probably the best singleplayer FPS of the modern age. 

Fallout 4's GOTY edition is £20/$30, matching its best Steam price to date if you've somehow not played that yet. And of course, no mention of 3D Fallout games can go without also bringing up New Vegas, the vanilla edition of which is $3.29/£2.63. I paid double that for a chocolate-flavoured beer last weekend. The beer was fantastic, but New Vegas will definitely last longer. The excellent Wolfenstein 2, give or take two annoying final bosses, is $24/£16. The Elder Scrolls Online and its various expansions are also discounted, plus you can get the entire Elder Scrolls series for less, too.

If, like me, you have most of those, you can instead look forward to QuakeCon itself this weekend, where we'll be getting our first look at Doom Eternal gameplay

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Prey - slenderfox_bethesda
The third update to Prey: Mooncrash, known as Blood Moon, is live now! Upgrade your operators with Fallout and Quake skins, wipe out Typhon with your TranStar weapons, and adorn your mimics with a witch hat or a crown!

Patch notes for the Blood Moon update are below:

  • Apex Tentacles will no longer lose interest in Lure Grenades as long as they are active.
  • Improvements to Psychostatic Cutter damage against mechanical NPCs.
  • Reduced friendly AoE damage of Thermal Phantoms created from Phantom Genesis II.
  • Mimic grab QTE prompts will now properly clear on death.
  • Reduced player grunts when being recycled by a Harvester.
  • Flashlight recharging icon will now properly clear on death.
  • Minor text and grammatical fixes.

PC ONLY
Steam Controller Support will no longer be forced on by default.
A new option can be found in Prey’s controller menu (Steam Controller Support) which will allow players to enable or disable this feature.

For Xinput controllers (ex. XB1, XB360, etc.)
  • With Steam Controller Support toggled ‘OFF’ these controllers will use Prey’s default control scheme
  • Note: In this case you will need to disable “Xbox Configuration Support” from Steam’s Controller Settings menu
  • With Steam Controller Support toggled ‘ON’ these controllers will use Steams configuration utility
  • Note: In this case you will need to enable “Xbox Configuration Support” from Steam’s Controller Settings menu
      For Direct input controllers (ex. DS4, Steam Controller, etc.)
      • With Steam Controller Support toggled ‘OFF’ these controllers will no function natively
      • With Steam Controller Support toggled ‘ON’ these controllers will use Steams Configuration utility
      • Note: In this case you will need to enable Configuration Support for whichever controller type you’re using from Steam’s Controller Settings menu
      Additions:Blood Moon PackWeapons
      • Transtar Themed – Silenced Pistol
      • Transtar Themed – Q-Beam
      • Transtar Themed – Shotgun
      • Transtar Themed – Wrench
      Operator
      • Quake Champions theme
      • Fallout theme
      Mimic Pet Hats
      • Witch hat
      • Medieval crown
Mass Effect

In 1992 Microprose released Rex Nebular & the Cosmic Gender Bender, an adventure game set on a world where a "gender war" had killed off all the men. The remaining women separated themselves from the rest of the galaxy, hid their planet, and perpetuated their species thanks to the Gender Bender, a device that instantly but non-permanently transformed women into men and vice versa. What does the game do with that setup and the questions it raises? It makes jokes about how men leave the toilet seat up and women don't know what torque wrenches are.

We've come a long way since then. In 2007's Mass Effect the Asari are a monogender alien species coded as women, and they don't hide themselves away refusing to learn how wrenches work. On the surface they seem like stereotypical blue space babes, but they're also a matriarchal society that plays a central role in the politics of the series. One of the Asari, Liara T'Soni, is a potential love interest for the player-character regardless of their gender—which, at the time, was controversial. Imperfect as they were, Mass Effect and its sequels felt like they were dealing with gender and sexuality in a way that's much more common to science fiction outside of games.

If your space opera novel about aliens gives them three genders readers accept it, because of course alien societies would have different ideas about sex. By the same token in cyberpunk novels where people can have laser eyes it's easier for readers to accept gender transitioning as commonplace. When we think about the future we do so by taking modern norms and simply pushing them a bit, and that includes our modern ideas about sexuality and gender.

How soon is now? 

...it may be a game about body horror giant robots and cosmic mysteries and post-reality hellscapes, but all the emotions in the game are very real

Heather Robertson

Extreme Meatpunks Forever is many things. It's a contender for best videogame name ever for starters. It's also an episodic visual novel about friends on the run in the Hellzone, which happens to include an Atari-style arcade action game where those characters climb into mechs that look like skinless monsters to fight fascists. Creator Heather Robertson (who also worked on Genderwrecked) describes it like this: "Extreme Meatpunks Forever is a serialized visual novel/mech brawler about four gay disasters beating up neonazis in giant robots made of meat."

Three episodes into the series, its heroes the Sundown Meatpunks are sleeping rough, missing their home, squabbling with each other, and shopping for protein bars in a convenience store called Blood Station where the clerk has static for a face. There's plenty of surrealness at play, but there's truth in it as well.

"It's about growing up queer in a small town," explains Robertson, "about feeling at odds with your own body, about feeling broken and trying to make a community with other broken people. Sure it may be a game about body horror giant robots and cosmic mysteries and post-reality hellscapes, but all the emotions in the game are very real—things that either I or someone very close to me have experienced."

Each of the Meatpunks has an alter ego they embody when they climb into their mech, when they become the raw and bleeding version of themselves who has to fight back. Lianna becomes Crash Queen, Cass becomes All Or Nothing, Sam becomes Roots Among Ash, and Brad becomes Ultra Brad. (We all know someone like Brad, I think.) Having mechs is one of the things that unites them. The other is, as Robertson puts it, that they are all "queer disasters". 

"Science fiction is an interpretation of the present, through the lens of the future," Robertson says. "When a science fiction book talks about minority groups in the future, or specifically avoids talking about minority groups, it's a political statement. 'You will be/you will not be allowed into the future.' The first category, of largely avoiding queer issues, may even come from a good place: that the author wants to include people like them in the future but isn't quite sure how to do more good than harm so they leave it as a side issue. Representation in science fiction isn't just about who can see themselves in a fantasy. It's about who can see themselves in the future."

In an interview with The Paris Review five years back, sometimes science-fiction author Warren Ellis made the case that the genre has always been more of a way of saying things about the time it's written in than about predicting the future. "Science fiction is social fiction", he said. "That’s the line from Mary Shelley through H. G. Wells and Aldous Huxley and George Orwell to the politically committed writers of the sixties and seventies. It's about using speculation as a tool with which to examine the contemporary condition."

I get the impression Heather Robertson's ideas about science fiction are similar. Her story of queer outcasts being hassled by fascists and failed by the police is a contemporary story dramatized by being pushed ahead of us in time. "If science fiction is an interpretation of the present through the lens of the future," she says, "it only makes sense that people take it as a chance to stake their claim on the future, and to say: 'I may not make it here, but someone like me will.' Queerness is unstoppable. It is resilient, unkillable. The future is made of love."

Do androids dream of electric sex? 

When people online are talking shop about the idiosyncrasies of their vaginas based on the manufacturer and the inherent quirks therein, it feels pretty cyber.

Sophia Park

Subserial Network is a game about a future where humans are long gone, and androids called synthetics who have personalities based on those lost humans try to build a society of their own, inspired by what's left of humanity—which is mainly the internet as it existed in the 1990s. You play a synthetic and see the world through web browsers, email and chat clients, even a music player reminiscent of WinAmp.

It's your job to sift through the digital creations of synthetics, their fanfic pages and proto-blogs, hunting for those who deviate. Some synthetics have begun modifying themselves, adding serial ports so they can interface in new ways, which is seen as a threat by others.

It's a story about the future, but as with all of these games there are parallels to modern concerns. "I think pursuing a highly stigmatised body modification because there’s a very firm idea of the sacredness of the body and what that body is supposed to do is just a good story in itself," says director Sophia Park, who was also responsible for Localhost. "But look, it’s happening every day. When people online are talking shop about the idiosyncrasies of their vaginas based on the manufacturer and the inherent quirks therein, it feels pretty cyber. I think being aware that there are people living that life right now, let alone the past, you know, fifty years, or whatever, is pretty cool."

In some ways it's a very personal game. "I directed the project and led the story, yeah? And the ideas first came once I started pursuing sexual reassignment surgery. And most of the game was written after I actually did it. So. It’s not about that, but it is? But it’s not. But it is." Park says that she doesn't want players to see Subserial Network as "a trans game" but as a game about characters you can find a common ground with rather than feeling excluded by your differences. "We try to take the metaphor and mess it around, recontextualize each and every element of our life experiences until it’s in a space where you don’t feel that. You feel like you can relate. And then you can understand your trans friends better, even if you don’t know why you do."

One of the Geocities-looking web pages in Subserial Network contains an interview with a synthetic who, in an attempt to understand what it means to be human, has been experimenting with sex. There's humor to it, an android with reconfigurable limbs trying to figure out what all these bits do, but also a sense that maybe by going beyond what someone with more traditional human parts could do they're actually discovering useful things about themselves. 

"In Subserial Network, we extrapolate some of our experiences into a world where your entire body can be reconfigured, where you can live, entirely, online, and where you for some reason are asked to be what you just aren’t. And I think within that premise you can explain or explore a lot of things that you might feel you presently can’t," says Park. She hopes that, in doing so, people can reach "resolution, conclusion, understanding, empathy" without necessarily feeling like her game is simply making a statement about a group of people and nothing more.

In one of Subserial Network's most affecting moments, a synthetic describes finding an old magazine with a photo of the human she was based on inside it. There's a face there that she recognizes as her own, but it belongs to someone separated from her by years, someone she both is and isn't. It's haunting, even divorced of subtext.

When Park describes science fiction she talks about how it focuses on 'the new thing', "a technology or a scientific concept that is elaborately explained and the story hinges on the changes this new thing inflicts on the world. It’s a thing you’ll see in, like, Black Mirror episodes or what have you. There’s always a new thing—and the new thing has narrative consequences, and it influences the worldbuilding, and it recontextualizes narratives and genres and maybe lets us understand something better today.

"Science fiction shares a lot with horror—the new thing is instead abject, and it’s terrifying, and no one explains it. It points backwards, and society has to reconvene after the new thing is put away. But these two things are often related. Are trans people more horror or science fiction? People tend to act like we are some abject thing, or some new science experiment that redefines gender and human society. But the new thing is just the new thing, right?"

This big broken machine 

The characters came out gay and they have different gender identities because it's my actual environment. I don't live in a space opera but I do live in this kind of context.

Jordi de Paco

The Red Strings Club is probably the best game I've played all year. It's three cyberpunk stories surgically attached as if by a back-alley street doc: one about a hacker, one about a bartender, and one about an android who bio-sculpts cybernetic implants. Together these three characters have the potential to bring down a corporation planning to brainwash the world by doing away with sadness, but also potentially eradicating free will and the motivation to improve our lives and those of others. The Red Strings Club interrogates the ideas we have about unhappiness (like, is it really a motivation for creativity or is that a myth we use to justify how unfairly society rewards artists?), and also questions the smaller ways we're responsible for manipulating people's emotions every day.

At the same time, The Red Strings Club presents queerness as an ordinary part of its near-future setting. Two of the main characters are gay and in a loving relationship together, and one of the secondary cast is a transgender woman. The android character is genderless and that's used as a vehicle for asking questions about the concept and its value. As Jordi de Paco, director, writer, and programmer at indie studio Deconstructeam explains, these themes weren't an intentional addition.

"Because we ourselves on the development team define ourselves as queer I just created the characters as my environment, like my friends and the kind of lives we lead", he says. "In Gods Will Be Watching, our previous game, I kind of I wasn't that aware I could do other stuff with videogames. I was just making what videogames do, with a white male protagonist and their friends. With The Red Strings Club I wanted to make more personal stuff. Suddenly, it came out naturally. The characters came out gay and they have different gender identities because it's my actual environment. I don't live in a space opera but I do live in this kind of context."

Even though The Red Strings Club developed its themes naturally, it's not been any less immune to criticism from the kind of people who use the word "forced" to describe any representation of characters different to them (which seems like every single person who uses the word "forced" on the internet). On the whole, de Paco was pleased by the response to their game. On the whole.

"With The Red Strings Club the big majority of feedback is really good and they're thankful the game made them feel things," he says, "and it happened that the bad feedback of The Red Strings Club feels like good feedback too. It's basically a lot of people complaining about it being 'a game full of fat chicks and faggots' and having 'a political agenda' and trying to 'force them through their throats' and everything."

Another response was less expected. Waypoint published an article critical of the way The Red Strings Club depicted one of its characters—who had an unhealthy obsession with a transgender woman—using her 'deadname', the name she no longer goes by. "We didn't feel like it was healthy criticism," he says, "like, 'Hey, guys, be careful with this because some people may be having conflicted emotions', we are really open to that kind of feedback. We have reasons to want to depict the reality of deadnaming in the game, we explained that on a follow-up article on Waypoint, but we were called 'cheap' and 'gross' and we 'sabotaged our vision'. It felt too harsh for us since that was not intentional at all. I understand that intention is not everything that counts, but being called out because of transphobia feels really, really tough, especially for us."

In spite of that, de Paco says he wouldn't change anything about his game if he was to make it over today. "I prefer to make it this way, because after experiencing putting a game out there with not that much that's personal in it and making something that's personal, I don't think I'd want to go back to making regular games. I really enjoy the way you can connect with the audience. Even the harsh feedback is something that makes you grow personally and it's interesting to expose yourself. I think that it's something that we have to offer that big companies don't have, so why limit that kind of potential we have? We really can explore these kind of experiences. If we cannot compete with big companies in technical issues maybe we can compete in feelings and being flawed and kinky or whatever we want to be."

Love in the time of rad sickness 

Fallout 2 was the first game to depict same-sex marriage, and some of the later Fallout games embraced a similarly forward-thinking attitude. Fallout: New Vegas in particular included characters from a spectrum of sexualities, including Veronica, Arcade, Whiskey Rose, and Christine. And then there was the Think Tank, from the Old World Blues expansion.

Writer Chris Avellone, who worked on both Fallout 2 and New Vegas, explains. "In terms of game stories and sexuality, when we were doing Fallout: New Vegas—Old World Blues, the twisted view of sexuality of the Think Tank Brains was intended as symptomatic of their psychological problems—but it was repressing them that was causing at least two of them serious emotional issues." Those characters were brains floating in jars, a homage to old school B-movies, who had over many years grown disdainful of biology and forgotten much about how it worked. Their ideas about sex were idiosyncratic, to say the least.

"One of them was obsessed and aroused by the biology of the human form—she was turned on by a character blinking, yawning, chewing, etcetera—even though the others found the human form repulsive, to put it lightly. And another was a chronic masturbator, which he hid from the others. The player can champion both so they don't feel ashamed of these feelings anymore during the end sequence—and they'll side with the player if the player helps them." The message was plain. As Avellone puts it, "it's OK to be you, just don’t hurt anyone while you're being you."

Ultimately, we felt it was the relationship in the context of Morgan's condition that was important, not Morgan's gender.

Chris Avellone

Avellone also worked on the 2017 version of Prey, a game that let players choose the sex of its amnesiac protagonist, Morgan Yu. Whether you explore Talos Space Station as a man or a woman, when you meet fellow crew member Mikhaila Ilyushin you discover she had a relationship with Morgan in the past, which you've since forgotten. 

Initially, Morgan had been conceived of as a man, and as Avellone says, "I suggested that Morgan, as a result of what’s happening on Talos and the disconnects and being unaware of his previous connections to others, could have his condition highlighted by being unaware of his past relationships with others". When the decision was made to allow Morgan to be played as a woman, they decided not to alter Mikhaila's role as your ex. "I think we simply asked, 'why would we?' So we didn't and left it in. Ultimately, we felt it was the relationship in the context of Morgan's condition that was important, not Morgan's gender."

Avellone's been in the videogame industry for a long time, with credits going back as far as 1996. Back then, he says, "sexuality in games was something of a taboo", something he believes is changing. As he puts it, "there’s been a shift in games over time to portray sexuality in games and show the range of sexuality in the game space."

And that's a positive trend. Like all of these developers, Avellone sees value in the genre's ability normalize things, to say that if we're going to accept interstellar travel and robots we may as well accept gay and transgender people. He brings up Iain M. Banks' novels in the Culture series as an example. "While one could argue that the way those subjects are treated in the books are sideline subjects, I think it gains a certain strength in that it's 'simply the way it is,' so much so there’s no reason to underscore it or exaggerate it because it’s simply the norm in the galactic society Banks created."

And although none of these developers think predicting the future is science fiction's main job, Park does give a shout-out to Mass Effect's vision of the 22nd century. "One thing Mass Effect did really well was in the casual bisexuality of the trilogy", she says. "I think that’s what the future looks like; everyone’s a little more fluid on the Kinsey scale, the determinative social role of human sexuality collapses, but the original architecture more or less stays up."

Whether it's acting as a weathervane for what's to come or drawing back a curtain on an aspect of the present, science fiction can use its distance from our lives to open us up to ideas we may not have considered, including ideas about gender and sexuality. Whether they're videogames, books, movies, or TV shows, our stories about the future could stand to be a bit ahead of their time.

The first three episodes of Extreme Meatpunks Forever are available on itch.io, as is Genderwrecked. Subserial Network is currently available to Humble Monthly subscribers. The Red Strings Club is on everything.

Prey - slenderfox_bethesda
The second free update to Mooncrash, known as Blue Moon, is live as of yesterday! Enhance your moon exploration experience with Wolfenstein and The Elder Scrolls Online operator skins, KASMA weapons, and bucket and propeller hats for your mimic pets!

Patch notes for the Blue Moon update are below:

  • Summoned operators can now speak when their inventory is closed.
  • Clarified the It’s All in Your Head side objective.
  • Fixed an issue where Harvesters would sometimes not damage players while recycling them.
  • Flashlights will now recharge when reentering the simulation.
  • Fixed an issue where the Psychostatic Cutter charge effect would sometimes remain after firing.
  • Moonsharks will no longer remain on fire while underground.
  • Psycholitic Converter will now allow Psychostatic Cutter ranged attack to be charged using health if no Psi is available.
  • Miscellaneous spelling and grammar corrections.
  • Additional bug fixes [Affects base Prey]
    Base Prey Fixes
  • Fixed an issue where the player would be spawned out of world when loading an arboretum save post-apex
  • Corrected the value that suit repair kits display

Blue Moon Pack
Weapons
  • Kasma Corp. Themed – Silenced Pistol
  • Kasma Corp. Themed – Psychostatic Cutter
  • Kasma Corp. Themed – Huntress Boltcaster
  • Kasma Corp. Themed – Disruptor Stun Gun

Operator
  • Wolfenstein theme
  • Elder Scrolls Online theme
  • Save the Typhon GDQ theme

Mimic Pet Hats
  • Bucket
  • Propeller beanie

You can also read more about the update here: https://beth.games/2JVtFVZ.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to comment here, or post on our Prey: Mooncrash support forums: https://beth.games/2LI9QmD.
Prey

When I finished Prey, I felt like I'd comprehensively done all the good stuff in the game, including the major sidequests. My two main issues upon reaching the credits were the endless fights with corrupted operators, the game's drone enemies, and the feeling that I'd seen the same beautiful environments too many times. This DLC, then, is basically about endless fights in the same few environments over and over again.

Mooncrash is Prey's curious spin on a roguelite, channelled within a story framework where you're entering a simulation of a TranStar base many times over to figure out what happened there. It's somewhere between a new mode and a traditional expansion. There are five playable characters, each with a different power set: a security specialist with high HP capabilities but no typhon powers, for example, or an engineer who can drop a turret. Riley Yu, meanwhile, has plenty of Typhon powers and carries a psychoscope.

You start on a small part of the moon base adjacent to a big hub. This leads to the other major areas of this place: Crew Annex, Moonworks and Pythea Labs, names which I now feel like I've read ten million times. With loose gravity, it's fun to leap around the lunar surface. That is, until perma-bastard the Moon Shark turns up, a huge, overpowered Typhon enemy that responds to the sound of footsteps on the moon's surface. 

You start with one character, and follow objectives to unlock the four others. Along the way, you also figure out potential escape routes. One of the main goals, along with completing the story quest for each character, is to finish a run with all five using wildly different methods of escape—this is made trickier by a 'corruption level' that ticks up relatively quickly, adding harder enemies to the world each time it increases. When this reaches its final level, the run ends, meaning you have to reset the simulation again. 

When a character dies, they're also rendered unplayable until you reset the simulation. These factors can be annoying, but they're not that big a deal, since you'll ideally spend a lot of the early game playing Mooncrash like vanilla Prey anyway: exploring, discovering, finding new fabrication plans, and learning how places are laid out.

It reaches out to a certain type of Prey player that will appreciate its systems in a purer form

So much about the base changes on each run, especially when you're deeper into the game. One area might be powered down, and you'll have to trade power with another to get it up and running again. A staircase might vanish, forcing you to climb up to an objective instead. A handy shortcut might be caved in. The door to the highly useful tram station might be on fire. The loot carried by the station's dead NPCs changes too, meaning there's no reliable place to find an exact item you need—you just have to go to a security station or medical area and hope the thing you're looking for is there, or fabricate it yourself. I like this unpredictability a lot: it makes the same spaces feel like they're changing, which is important given how many times you'll explore them. 

While death is permanent in Mooncrash, some elements persist. Each simulation is a shared run between the five characters—you can go find your dead character's stuff (or transfer it using an operator buddy), and they might've been turned into an enemy while you were gone. All the abilities you unlock stick between resets, and each time you die or finish a run, you're given sim points to spend on items depending on how you performed. You can then spend these on a loadout for your next run. When you find a fabrication plan in Mooncrash, you can add the item in question to your loadout.

The fabrication plans seem to be randomly generated in each run too, and it felt like it took an age to unlock some essentials: neuromods really speed up your progression, and the ability to delay the corruption level from advancing gives you a significant edge later on.

I can see diehard Prey players enjoying this curve. In my case, I wish everything moved a bit faster, and resetting wasn't always as necessary as it is. For example, early on, my character was required to learn a piloting ability so they could steal a shuttle and escape the base—one of the easiest ways to finish a run. My character had a head injury, though, meaning I couldn't install the neuromod when I found the ability in question. I went to a medical area, and the random item spawning meant I couldn't find the right thing to heal with, nor did I have the plan to fabricate it.

I could've tried another area of the base, but I was on low health and right near my objective, meaning I'd have probably died in trying to venture elsewhere. The easiest thing to do in this instance was to reset the entire run. I then had the joy of starting in the same place, again. Then I had to run past the Moon Shark without dying, again. Then I had to wait for the stupid Typhon sensors that protect each area to switch off when the Moon Shark left me alone and I'd killed yet more phantoms, again. 

There's just more wasted time than I'm comfortable with. Yeah, this is part of what roguelikes and survival games do, but Mooncrash could be more generous with rewards and progression, especially early on. If you liked the story parts of Prey, each character has a quest with dialogue and cool scripted moments—but jeez, this expansion makes you wait for them. 

Mooncrash does represent the most I've enjoyed Prey's combat, though. The finite nature of each run means you might as well let rip with Typhon powers, recycler charges and shotgun ammo. It fights my natural immersive sim urge to hoard cool shit, which is refreshing. Fighting Typhons remains less precise than the options enable in Dishonored's combat, but this is a decent framework for the action. Arkane has added new weapons to the game, like the neatly lightsaber-ish Psychostatic Cutter, and figuring out your optimum loadout for a serious run is a nice strategic challenge.

You also get a decent amount of new space to explore in Mooncrash, which feels smartly designed around its repeated format. It's as densely packed with stuff to find as Talos I, and the way loot steadily upgrades as you're deeper into the expansion is clever. So too is the structure, which even with its cyclical nature, uses its meta story to make you feel like you're moving forward. 

Mooncrash feels like it was never intended for everyone to enjoy—instead it reaches out to a certain type of Prey player that will appreciate its systems in a purer form. For me, the slow progression holds it back a bit, but this is an innovative expansion that still captures much of what I enjoyed about the base game. 

Prey - slenderfox_bethesda
We're so excited to release the first free update to Prey: Mooncrash, which is live now! Enjoy spicing up your operators with The Elder Scrolls or The Evil Within skins, destroy Typhon with engraved weapons, and dress up your mimic pets in a striped top hat or a bamboo hat!

Patch notes for the Full Moon update are below:

  • Added an "Abort Current Run" option that will kill the current character and return the player to the ready room
  • Slightly increased the Fabrication and Sim Point costs of the Delay_Loop.Time consumable
  • Slightly increased the Sim point cost of Neuromods
  • Fixed an issue that would cause the Care4Yu S-i34000x chipset to sometimes block the poison effect during the ‘It Gets Worse’ quest
  • Fixed an issue that would sometimes cause the anti-aliasing setting to revert after restarting the application.
  • Fixed an issue that would cause weapon upgrades to revert if dropped in a level before transitioning

This update also comes with new Elder Scrolls and Evil Within operator skins, engraved weapons, and new mimic hats (striped top hat, and bamboo hat)!

You can also read more about the update here: https://beth.games/2NBtWjW.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to comment here, or post on our Prey: Mooncrash support forums: https://beth.games/2LI9QmD.

Edit: Thank you for bringing the 16gb download to our attention! This is an issue we're seeing for PC users who have not purchased Mooncrash, and we are rolling back the update on PC so we can fix this. Please stay tuned for updates regarding this issue!

Edit 2: Thank you all for your incredible patience! The 16gb issue on PC has been repaired, and the fixed patch is now live. Thank you again for bringing this issue to our attention!
Prey - slenderfox_bethesda
Prey: Mooncrash is available now! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being incredible, brilliant and supportive fans since Prey's launch in 2017. We can't wait to hear your thoughts about Prey: Mooncrash, as well as the brand new Story Mode, Survival Mode, and New Game+ found in the base game.

For more information about Prey: Mooncrash, go ahead and check out this Bethesda.net article for all of the juicey details: beth.games/2kTr3he.

For any technical concerns or feedback, please go to our official forums, found here: https://beth.games/2LI9QmD

Thank you again, and get off the moon!
Prey

Arkane Studios isn't finished with Prey quite yet. At Bethesda's E3 2018 press conference, a trailer for Prey DLC Mooncrash came along with the surprise announcement that this big update for Prey is available right now.

The Prey add-on isn't a big expansion like last year's Dishonored spin-off Death of the Outsider. Instead it's a piece of DLC called Mooncrash, where "enemies, hazards, and loot are all different each time you play." There's also a free update for Prey consisting of three things: Story Mode, New Game+, and Survival Mode.

Mooncrash is available on Steam now for $20, or in a deluxe bundle with the base game for $40. Here's the description: 

"Fight overwhelming odds to escape a secret TranStar moon base where the enemies you encounter, the hazards you face, the goals you complete, and the loot you collect are different each time you play. With changing environments as dangerous as they are dynamic, the Mooncrash campaign for Prey will offer a fun, infinitely replayable challenge to test even the most skilled players."

Mooncrash and the free update aren't the only new things coming for Prey: a new multiplayer mode, called Typhon Hunter, will be available later this summer.

Developing...

Prey

The Prey hype machine started cranking over again today with the appearance of a number of new achievements on Steam. They're not properly named, but they do provide a clue to what's coming: From top to bottom, they spell out, "If you believed they put a man on the moon." 

That's a lyric from the REM song Man on the Moon, which may or may not be directly relevant to the future of Prey. More to the point, though, it's a reference to the moon, which has previously been hinted at as the location for the expansion. The achievements also bear the logo of Kasma Corporation, a rival to TranStar that got a very brief mention in the game when Eddie Voss confessed to stealing from the company.

Adding to the mystery is a KasmaCorp Twitter account that was created in March. It isn't confirmed as a "real" account, although this Reddit thread strongly suggests that it is, and its tweets are protected so I can't currently see them. But a separate thread reveals that it's dropped some cryptic hints in binary, including lunar surface coordinates and the phrase, "The moon is a harsh mistress."

Perhaps most interesting (and indicative of an active PR ramp-up), the Kasma Corp Reddit account posted a comment on a very cool image of Earth and the Moon earlier today in the NASA subreddit. The comment, in binary, translates to "imgur 31nProa." Converting that to an imgur url gives us this: 

The plot thickens. It's just a guess, but I expect that the secrets will be revealed at E3.

Thanks, VG247.

Prey

Life is too short to get stuck in a boring game. The phrase "100-hour RPG" sounds wonderful, doesn't it? But when you're 80 hours in, you've mastered all of the systems, and you know there's still a solid Earth day of time left before the credits, it ain't so great. While we love big games that give you a lot of entertainment for your buck, it has to be said that some games really overdo it. 

That brings us to this week's PCG Q&A. Which game is just too damn long? Let us know your answers in the comments. 

Wes Fenlon: Dark Souls 2

Dark Souls feels like a fine sculpture that began as a massive slab and was carved into a work of art, most of the stone ground away until only the shape within remained. Dark Souls 2 is more like, eh, why waste all that stone? Let's just make an obelisk! It's still a great RPG, but sets out to be bigger than its predecessor, and that means area after area with limited connections between each other, and a game that keeps going and going and going. You get a hell of a lot of game for your money, but the trade-off is a loss of thematic consistency and a few areas that feel like they probably could've ended up on the cutting room floor in a tighter game.

Did we really need Black Gulch, a long, dark corridor you walk down while statues spit gobs of poison at you? Nah. Could Harvest Valley, a bland sequence of muddy pits, have been more compact and more interesting? Definitely. And that bit about going inside the Giants' memories? Cool, I guess, but I was really ready to be done by that point. I found Dark Souls 2 exhausting, which is probably why it's the only game in the series I have no interest in replaying.

Jody Macgregor: King's Bounty: The Legend

I like the Heroes of Might & Magic games, but the campaigns do make you feel like someone's pressing the reset button. Constantly facing a new map, building another army from scratch, conquering and upgrading cities again—eventually it's a bit much. King's Bounty: The Legend (a sort of remake of the game that inspired Heroes of Might & Magic) seems like a perfect fix. It's got similar of fantasy turn-based combat, all hex grids and dragons, but it's the one map the whole time and you're always leveling up the same hero. It feels more like progress.Plus, it's got a goofier tone. For a long time my army had snakes and werewolf elves alongside the knights, and after meeting several romanceable characters I eventually married a frog princess. (This is a game where you can famously wife a zombie.) But after 20 hours, King's Bounty: The Legend wore out its welcome. The more of the map you explore, the more of a chore it is to march back and replenish troops, and later areas are thin and lacking sidequests. The idea of playing for at least another 20 hours to get to the end had no appeal. The thing is, if it was all neatly wrapped up at a sensible point instead I probably would have gone back by now to try out a new hero class, and maybe find out what happens if you marry a zombie. But because my final memory is of boredom and abandonment, I know I'll probably never go back.

Chris Livingston: MLB 2K12 (or any baseball game)

In a way I'm glad there isn't a great, licensed Major League Baseball game for PC. Because most years I fall into this trap: I'll decide to buy a baseball game and play a full season mirroring a real season: basically one game a day, 162 games in six months, plus the post-season if I make it. And a couple weeks in I'll be like ohhhhh why did I do this, this is so boring. Baseball seasons are so very long, and so is simulating them.

Part of the problem is I just don't want to play a bunch of teams I don't think about often with players I don't know. Like, do I really want to spend three consecutive days playing the Cincinnati Reds or the Colorado Rockies? Do I ever want to pull my fifth starting pitcher and put in my only rested reliever to throw against some batter on the Brewers I've never heard of? Do I want to sit through a late-season, utterly meaningless nine-inning game against the fucking Royals? I've never been someone who loves baseball so much that I can just watch any game, I kinda need to have a stake in it, with star players in the lineup or on the mound, something to keep my interest. Playing every game in a season, maybe once a week you have a good match-up. Six months is a long time to play something that only holds your interest every so often.

Andy Chalk: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Amnesia scared the bejeezus out of me. I hated playing it, and I hated myself because I couldn't stop playing it. It just got worse and worse and worse, relentlessly grinding me down with tension and jump scares and creeping horror, until something in my head finally broke. Somewhere near the end of the game (but not as near to it as I'd thought), I snapped—or, closer to the truth, I ran out of patience with being constantly horrified. And somehow, the effect just stopped. 

The rest of the game was a fairly frightless stroll to Daniel's final fate, and as oddly relieving as it was to have crossed the threshold into the relative safety of "numb to the horrors of this existence," it was a letdown, too. I don't have issues with the ending itself, because it was bound to be ambiguous and weird. But I've always felt that it was diminished by its lateness. Instead of a knife-in-the-eye exclamation point at the end of a journey through the best worst game ever, it's just a routine wrap-up: Job done, go home. Not exactly the gut-punch finisher that a great game like Amnesia deserves. 

Tom Senior: Pillars of Eternity

This applies to the Baldur's Gate games too. I only ever manage to get about halfway through before I get distracted and wander off into a different game. It's in the nature of a good cRPG to have very dense towns packed with NPCs that have lots to say. It's a great strength of the genre because it means you can stumble into big quests by accident, but wow does it take time to get through these games.

Dungeons can take many hours, as well, especially if you like to pause time a lot and sit there stroking your chin thinking about critical hit odds and party positioning. When I return to the surface and emerge into the sunlight, only to be confronted with another massive, beautifully drawn town, I think 'oh boy.' I have to force myself to walk through the gates and chat to a few characters, just to give me a thread to hold onto the next time I start the game. Otherwise when I'm sat at my PC thinking about playing something I'll remember that I have a whole town to crack. Then I'll realise there are going to be so many more towns and dungeons to go before the end, and somehow it just feels easier to give up and play something else.

Joe Donnelly: Metal Gear Solid

Don't get me wrong: I love Metal Gear Solid. I adore its world, its gadgets and its characters—and in a series brimming with epic boss battles, Sniper Wolf, Psycho Mantis, and Cyborg Ninja/Gray Fox are to this day among my favourites. But what about all that faffing about with the PAL Key towards the end? 

I suppose my grievance with Metal Gear Solid isn't that it's too long, then, but that everything between the second Vulcan Raven fight and climbing Metal Gear REX makes it feel that way. Lose the PAL Key, search the drainage gulley, find the PAL Key, track back to the furnace, heat the PAL Key, travel back to the warehouse, freeze the PAL Key—what the hell is that all about? The previous sniper rifle jaunt that requires you travel from one corner of the map to the opposite irritated me to no end during my first playthrough, but this almost made me quit entirely. And, to rub Foxdie in the wound, at the end of it all you discover Liquid's sewn you up and you've armed the warhead anyway. Sneaky bastard.  

Admittedly, the latter battles with REX and Liquid are dynamite, and just about make up for all that prior arsing around.

Austin Wood: Dead Space 2

The original Dead Space is still one of my favorite and most-played games of all time, but I like its sequel a lot less because it runs out of ideas well before it ends. Yes, the whole eye stabbing thing provides a brief defibrillation, but new scares and environmental challenges slow to a drip around the halfway point. There are a few areas in Dead Space that make you think "Oh no, another air vent with a Necromorph inside," and that's basically the entire second half of Dead Space 2. 

It doesn't help that the story never really goes anywhere. You spend the first game unraveling the Ishimura's true mission, deciphering the mystery of the Marker and gauging the motivations of your crewmates. It's a slow boil, and by the time you realize the water's gotten hot enough to kill you, it's too late. Which is suspenseful and unnerving and even some other spooky adjectives, but it also means you start Dead Space 2 knowing all the twists. The rabbit won't go back in the hat, so the sequel begins exactly as it ends: with Isaac struggling to escape a bunch of loonies and monstrosities and trying to figure out who's worse. Everything in between feels like a sightseeing tour, and the scenery really starts to repeat itself after a few hours. 

Samuel Roberts: Prey

I enjoyed Prey's sense of place. The fact you could access the entire ship from the exterior while floating in space made Talos I feel pretty real, but the game itself feels several hours too long. In completing the game's various sidequests, I felt like I'd seen the same places a few too many times, and that I was waiting for the story to be over.  

At the same time, a lot of the game's later encounters are with the operator robot enemies that are best dealt with using guns. Unfortunately, scraping together ammo at that late stage in the game felt like a struggle to me. I feel like if Prey was 25% shorter, it would've left a slightly better lasting impression, and may even have crept into my GOTY shortlist for last year. 

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