Half-Life 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

Then the bus EXPLODED. Hello, this is the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, and we are here to talk about the best game openings and intros. Whether they are cold opens or slow burns, we love a good first impression. (more…)

Portal 2

After writing about the 20-map, 30-puzzle-boasting Destroyed Aperture earlier this month, I've had a hankering for Portal 2 mods. After a wee fumble around ModDB, the latest to catch my eye is Portal: After Hours—a " one man passion project" that plans to launch its first episode on August 15, 2018. 

Designed to recapture the story-lite "simplicity" of the original Portal, After Hours aims to give players "much harder puzzles that cater to long-term Portal fans first," so says creator ABNTGeneric. 

They add: "New and improved testing elements will be present throughout the game, including, but not limited to, modified versions of existing community made fizzlers. There will be multiple original characters, voice acting, and a cohesive story line that fits snugly into the existing Portal universe."

ABNTGeneric explains the project will be split into two parts—the first, as noted above, is due next month; the second is due at some point "this winter"—before the full mod is released for free on Steam in early 2019.  

Here's a trailer:

And some screens:

After Hours' Twitter page houses some cool work-in-progress stuff too, such as single puzzles and in-development designs. Here are some of those:

Again, Portal: After Hours' first episode is due on August 15. More information lives on its ModDB page.  

Team Fortress 2

Valve veteran Jay Pinkerton has returned to the developer a year after he left the company.

Pinkerton left last June, following other high profile departures from Erik Wolpaw, Chet Faliszek, and DOTA 2 writer Marc Laidlaw.

Now, thanks to eagle-eyed Redditor OWLverlord (via PC Gamer), it seems Pinkerton is back on Valve's staff page, listed under the "Other Experts" category.

Read more…

Portal 2

Update: A Valve representative has confirmed via email that Portal 2 co-writer Jay Pinkerton has returned to the company. Read the original story below for more details.

Original story: 

Portal 2 co-writer Jay Pinkerton appears to have returned to Valve, a year after he left the company.

2017 saw an exodus of Valve writers: Erik Wolpaw and Chet Faliszek, who wrote Portal 2 alongside Pinkerton, left in February and May respectively, and Pinkerton followed suit in June. 

However, as spotted by Reddit user OWLverlord, Pinkerton is now listed on Valve's staff page, alongside a short bio, suggesting he has returned to the company for good.

As well as Portal 2, Pinkerton wrote parts of Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, as well as a lot of the ancillary stuff surrounding Valve's games, such as the TF2 comics.

As much as I'd love to see him pen the TF2 comic #7—something he is open to—I presume he'll be put to work on some of the new games Valve is working on.

Portal 2

Portal 2 is a masterpiece and one of the few games that actually lived up to its hype. Destroyed Aperture is a work in progress community-made Portal 2 mod that's been in development since 2015, and is due this year. It's as yet without a hard release date, but it's now popped up on ModDB with a bundle of new screens. I'm excited. 

Because not only does Destroyed Aperture drop players into a neat/terrifying decayed and overgrown Aperture Science Facility, it promises a new five hour-long story campaign that spans five chapters. Within that, we can expect over 20 maps "filled with puzzles and exploration with increasing difficulty", and over 30 logic-based puzzles. 

Here's the lowdown, as per its ModDB page:  

Destroyed Aperture is a free community made modification for Portal 2. You take the role of a man named David that gets woken up in an overgrown and decayed Aperture Science Facility 7. Facility 7's central core has failed and destroyed any and every communication systems along with the environment and killed almost everyone. The facility has been in a decayed state for years, locking everyone in. But not all hope is lost, there still is a chance of escaping.

Developer Dayin Creations cites "Fall 2018" as Destroyed Aperture's proposed launch window which, coupled with its appearance on ModDB, might suggest it's on track. Check out this FAQ for more on the minutiae, and have a gander at the following screens.  

Portal 2

Valve has returned to the world of Portal for Moondust, a brand new virtual reality demo. Working for Aperture Science's Lunar Resources Initiative, you are sent into spaaaace to construct a modular space station, and then down onto the Moon itself for further testing.

Moondust is a sandbox experience designed to show off the Knuckles EV2, Valve's latest VR controller. Specifically, you'll be manipulating objects using the device's pinch grip technology and ability to finely detect hand poses and movement.

On board with that? Then you'll be crushing moon rocks, driving a moon buggy, building things and lobbing items onto targets in no time.

Read more…

Portal
An update has been released for Portal 2. - Fix for a potential remote code execution exploit. Thanks to HackerOne for the report.
Portal 2 - Valve
An update has been released for Portal 2

- Added HUD hint support for Steam Input types other than the Steam Controller.
Portal
An update has been released for Portal 2 - Added HUD hint support for Steam Input types other than the Steam Controller.
Portal 2

Whether it’s an Easter egg, a joke character, or just a little nudge at a competitor, developers love slipping the odd reference to other games into their own. Sometimes though, they go beyond just slapping a Dopefish on a wall or quipping about a ‘doomed space marine’, and we get to see our heroes stride into entirely new, often completely inappropriate new worlds.

Here are a few of our favourites, along the ones that caused the most ‘wait, what?’ blinking on discovery. 

Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Jedi

Yes, he can hold his breath underwater for ten minutes and quip his way through any sword-fight… but only The Force Unleashed II let him try his luck with a lightsaber. Turns out that you don’t need a sharp wit if you’re waving around two of the universe’s deadliest glowsticks and aren’t afraid to use them. Guybrush Threepkiller is so famous in-universe, he even has his own statues. We’re almost positive that’ll be brought up at some point in the next movie. After all, Rey does need a new teacher. Just as long as Elaine never finds out about it. 

Final Fantasy makes history in Assasin's Creed

Obviously, everything in the Assassin’s Creed series is meticulously researched and true to life, especially the alien gods and the time Ezio punched the Pope. Write it all down in your history homework! Which means that, while aliens might not have built the pyramids, they definitely got up to a bit of chocobo racing on the side. That’s according to this crossover, where Assassins ended up in Final Fantasy XV, while its villain ended up pounding sand for a bit before being dragged back to his own game by a hastily summoned Bahamut. There’s even a stuffed Moogle lying around in case you feel lonely after they’ve gone, and some fancy weapons to keep and confuse archaeologists for a few thousand years. Along with that Stargate, obviously. 

Commander Keen hangs about in Doom II

There’s a few odd appearances in Doom 2, including the severed head of John Romero as the end-boss, and a trip back to Wolfenstein 3D in the secret levels. By far the strangest thing though is what lies behind those: former id star Commander Keen… murdered and hanging from meathooks. The story goes that Adrian Carmack was the childkiller in question, having chafed at making cutesy games instead of enjoying himself with blood and guts. However, that was not enough to get rid of the boy-genius forever, for both John Romero and Tom Hall have confirmed that Commander Keen, real name Billy Blaze, is in fact Wolfenstein hero BJ Blazkowicz’s grandson… and father to the Doomguy. What a strange family tree. 

Earthworm Jim digs into Battle Arena Toshinden

He’s the world’s mightiest worm! He fights aliens! He travels galaxies! He gets flattened by a lot of cows! And he’s one of the few 90s mascots to actually be awesome, starring in two excellent platformers, one surprisingly good cartoon series, and… well, let’s not mention the sequels. Like Bubsy, 3D was not kind to Earthworm Jim, though unlike Bubsy, people actually cared. His most successful jump into the third dimension turned out to be this Easter Egg in the PC version of Toshinden, where with the help of his super-suit and a really big club, he was finally able to make the future of gaming eat dirt. Pound them into the ground. Bury himself in glory. Be cut in half and yet… no, wait. Not that one. But it was still as good as fans were going to get.

Everyone plays Poker Night at the Inventory 

Easily the most ambitious gaming crossover in recent memory… and it’s all about hanging out between games. Telltale’s Poker Night series combined, amongst a few others (deep breath) The Heavy from Team Fortress 2, Max from Sam and Max, Strong Bad from Homestar Runner, Tycho Brahe of Penny Arcade Adventures and also some webcomic whose name we forget off-hand, GLaDOS from Portal, Brock Samson from the Venture Bros (not a game, but never mind), Claptrap from Borderlands, Sam from Sam and Max replacing Max from Sam and Max, and Ash from The Evil Dead. Phew.

They weren’t great poker games, but that wasn’t really the point. It was about the banter between the different competitors as they sat back and shot the shit without the customary heavy artillery. We could also have had members of the cast from The Walking Dead and Back to the Future, but they were deemed unsuitable for the atmosphere. They didn’t want anyone crying, or any kids seeing Doc and Marty in a sweary environment. A pity. When the game revved up, they could have seen some serious shit.

Portal 2’s Space Core invades Skyrim 

When Bethesda showed off DLC for Oblivion, it was horse armour. And everybody laughed. Come Skyrim, the laugh was far more positive. One of the earliest additions saw the exiled Space Core (spoilers for a decade old game there) crash-land in Tamriel, still just as eager to explore SPAAAAAAAACE. Going bizarrely unnoticed by the locals, all probably fretting about that whole dragon invasion thing, it came crashing down in a plume of smoke. Pick it up and it still kept blinking and talking in your inventory, delivering… well, not very varied dialogue. In summary:  “Space. Space. Space!” And yet, still it was less annoying than all those guards and their epic tales of glory curtailed by the sudden impact of a ballistic stick to the lower-leg.

XCOM defends Civ V: Brave New World

What does XCOM do when there are no aliens to fight? Apparently, they learn to ****ing shoot straight. The XCOM Squad in Civ V is an elite tactical unit that gets the job done, air-dropping into friendly territory and laying down the law. Specifically, Thou Shalt Not Screw With XCOM. In the absence of aliens, they have their eyes set on "Giant Death Robots," and are happy to act as shock troopers or defensive units while they watch the skies and await their destiny. But since there are apparently no aliens interested in Earth during the Civ games, they’re probably going to be waiting a while. Should have taken the flight to Alpha Centauri.

Princess Rosella favours Leisure Suit Larry 3

Sierra On-Line loved its in-jokes. Not one but two sequels (this one and Space Quest III) ended with the characters somehow finding their way to the developers’ own offices for a chat with studio leads Ken and Roberta Williams, with Larry also taking trips to a Westworld style factory where adventure heroes are rebuilt after every stupid death, complete with King’s Quest’s King Graham being readied for duty, and finally showing up in the Old West for a cameo in Freddy Pharkas Frontier Pharmacist. By far the strangest cameos came at the end of Leisure Suit Larry 3, where the trip to Sierraland involved trekking through scenes from games like Police Quest and Space Quest 2, before meeting Roberta Williams directing a particularly annoying scene from King’s Quest IV, in which Princess Rosella is trapped in the slobbery mouth of a giant whale. Strange.

Frank West covers Lost Planet: Extreme Condition

He’s covered wars, you know. But oddly, Dead Rising’s original and best hero doesn’t seem to know how to cover himself in this odd outing. Despite Lost Planet being set on a frozen world, everyone’s favourite photographer show up not only without his camera, but also without his trousers. Somehow avoiding hypothermia, he runs around in nothing but underpants, while still managing to rain destruction on the armies of insects happy to not have to peel their food for once. What a trooper. 

Scorpion goes mental in Psi-Ops

Fighting game characters are probably the most cameo-friendly of all, whether it’s a full game like Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, or bonus combatants-without-a-k-because-that’s-how-it’s-spelled in the likes of Injustice. But they show up in other games with curious regularity too. Lightning god Raiden for instance showed up in Unreal Championship, while invisible fighter Reptile could have popped into basically any game. Ever seen a flicker on your screen playing, say, Fortnite? As far as you know, it might be him.

But still, this was an odd one. Even though Midway was the publisher of both MK and Psi-Ops, it’s a bit of a leap from fighting game to third-person action game. Sadly, just wearing his palette-swapped ninja outfit didn’t actually make you the world’s clingiest fighter. He still had to swap out his “get over here!” attack for regular guns. On the plus side, having to beat every character in the game two out of three times would have gotten pretty darn tiring.

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