If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. I wish I could take credit for that strapline up there, but alas, I cannot. That's right, the creator of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi, really has created his own Final Fantasy XIV clothing label called sakaGUCCI - and he's been showing off his designs on Twitter with some truly great fashion poses. Technically, Final Fantasy XIV players can't actually create their own custom clothing in Square Enix's mega MMO, but items you craft and sell to other players retain the name of the player who made them. As such, the clothing sold by Sakaguchi will have the "sakaGUCCI" label attached to them - and it's all thanks to his Lv.90 weaver Lalafell character. I've included a couple of my favourite designs below, but there are loads more on Sakaguchi's Twitter if you want to see the entire collection. sakaGUCCI・デザイナーHironobuSakaguchiよりのお願いです。トレード会のその場で「武具投影」していただくと、アイテムはBINDされ、受け渡しや出品はできなくなります。より転売を防げるという意味でも、またその後の討伐ツアーを盛り上げるためにも、ぜひお願いいたします。 pic.twitter.com/Ds30FjAfEO— 坂口博信 (@auuo) January 24, 2022 That is some serious fashionista sass, right there. According to Sakaguchi's tweets, items are priced based on how difficult they are to craft and the cost of the materials, and now that the game has finally gone back on sale today, there will no doubt be hordes of avid Final Fantasy fans eager to get their hands on them. sakaGUCCI・記念撮影。一番好きば場所にて。いろいろとみなさんと話もできて楽しかった。#FF14 #FFXIV pic.twitter.com/mhB3guPI7i— 坂口博信 (@auuo) January 21, 2022 However, Sakaguchi has also asked players not to re-sell their sakaGUCCI clothes on the game's marketplace, presumably to try and prevent them from turning into crazy expensive collector's items. Instead, he's called for players
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Fear not, it's on schedule Bang your gong, sing it from the rooftops, put your phone on full brightness and swing it to and fro. Elden Ring has gone gold, which means the game should be ready to release on schedule in February. Every NPC has rehearsed their ominous laugh and bosses their second and third phases, basically. In a new Elden Ring gameplay presentation from the Taipei Game Show, producer Yasuhiro Kitao confirmed that development was going smoothly. "It is. Elden Ring was originally slated for release in January of this year, and it has been pushed back once to February. But please be assured, the title will be ready for sale on February 25. The master version has already been submitted, and right now, the team is working on a day one patch to make su
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This is "Distant Worlds rebuilt from the ground up," says co-designer Erik Rutkins Strategy games set in space are almost innately ambitious. The very concept of doing anything meaningful in an infinite void, let alone making it playable and entertaining, is a challenging one, and for every game that reaches for the stars there are countless kinds of... spiraling chaos orbitals. Between its design flaws and unique ideas with semi-brilliant execution, the 2010 4X/wargame/economic/management simulation Distant Worlds: Universe has straddled those two experiences for a decade. It's needed a sequel for a long time. Distant Worlds 2 is that sequel, and it's almost upon us. Last week I attended a live demo and Q&A session with its producer and co-designer Erik Rutkins. With only a hands-off demo to go on I obviously can't say for sure how it plays yet, but it's already looking very promising. What's immediately clear was that, as a bare minimum, the UI is already vastly improved. DWU was complicated even by strategy game standards, and important functions and information were buried all over the place in obscure, full-screen menus. This sequel is instead built around a straightforward tabbed menu panel, integrated with the map so that hovering on an item pings the corresponding map location. It's fairly standard stuff in 2022, and the influence of Stellaris in particular is clear. But Distant Worlds was in sore need of a total presentation overhaul and Code Force have definitely prioritised clarity and ease of use. Pretty much every element Rutkins demonstrates comes up with a summary of "top level" information with a click or two in a logical place. This isn't just window dressing either. Rutkins tells us immediately that "this is a 64-bit, multi-threaded 3D engine. It's a whole new code base... basically Distant Worlds rebuilt from the ground up." Players of the original will be relieved to hear that Distant Worlds 2 is based on "a newer engine that allows us to do bigger galaxies and 3D graphics, and not be constrained as much performance-wise. The old engine was beyond creaking at the seams." Given that Distant Worlds already boasted tens of thousands of planets per game, that's a lot to manage, bringing us to the second area that badly needed improvements: the automation. Delegating tasks to the AI remains fundamental to the design, and Rutkins stresses the importance of supporting a wide range of playstyles. Players uninterested in any aspect of running an empire can hand it to the AI, even so far as controlling only a single ship for themselves. In between full automation and maximum micromanagement mode, many departments of your empire can be entrusted to advisors whose authority level is up to you - you might have them form the plans for your approval, or let them do what they want but occasionally send notice of decisions should you want to veto them. Each department can be further finetuned through 'policy settings' from within the same menu, essentially leaving specific standing orders for AI behaviour. Personally, getting the right degree of control without either constant messages or no idea what my ships were doing was always the first big hurdle with starting a DWU game. I'm hoping this approach will remedy those early stumbling blocks. This attitude extends to diplomacy, too. Code Force's new policy layer only lets you make the big diplomatic decisions, and then gives your advisors broad instructions and "control at a somewhat higher level what your strategy will be". Here, he shows us that his diplomats are instructed to 'undermine' a neighbouring faction without him having to think up passive aggressive remarks himself. The list of playable factions has been cut from 20 to seven "because each faction frankly is a huge amount more work than it was in Distant Worlds". It's a small disappointment, but should still allow wide range of playstyles, and the remaining species will be available as independents who provide bonuses if conquered or peacefully assimilated. From the sound of it, those factions are closer to Alpha Centauri than Stellaris, setting a loose archetype that you can bend, but not fundamentally change beyond a different government type. There are more factors affecting foreign relations, and new treaty types, the most interesting being multiple trade agreements. Initially, empires won't trade with you at all, but may sign a series of treaties to share increasingly favourable economic terms. When I ask, Rutkins indicates that although it would depend on circumstance and good relations and treaties, it should be possible to trade extensively rather than mine everything yourself. Inevitably, I asked whether I could be a pirate faction. The answer is no, for now, but "we really want them to the playable again in the future". Reading between the lines, it's almost certainly a question that will be answered by how well the game sells. DWU's pirate mode was a fundamental structural change, and asking for that out of the box is a lot, especially for such a small studio. But there will still be AI pirates to fight and bargain with. They're even integrated with the (optional) storyline, which Rutkins says will offer "way more story than the first game." He continues: "We have the main story, which is equivalent to the first, and a story for each faction. You really only get all the pieces of the entire narrative if you play through each faction." Less completionist players might still piece together what they miss with one faction though, as "we try to put everything in the galaxy at the beginning, and make you have to find it. But the order that you find it, and what happens, is up to you." This is true of the main and faction stories; any faction can find parts of any other's story, but may be less able to understand their significance. Much of the new design is about refinement and better integration. Much of the new design is about refinement and better integration, like the new ability to set immigration policy on a per-planet basis rather than just empire-wide, and the same is true for resource storage policies. Civilian transports will manage deliveries and stock levels as before, but you can alter their priorities to stockpile or clear out any given resource from any planet or station. Also like DWU, everything in your economy is physically present on the map, with every ship made from materials mined and shipped from place to place. Each ship needs fuel too, although this time there's just the one fuel type, which I'm mildly disappointed by, but is probably a better design decision. Planetary populations, meanwhile, demand luxury resources to keep growing. Larger colonies pay more tax, but require ever more goods, which is still key to how DW2's economy works. The private sector will mine and transport those goods, but only as effectively as your state infrastructure permits. Growth and construction and research flourish when your mining and hauling network is well managed and protected, but poor planning, disruption from war and other disasters dampen that movement and those processes. Building, colonisation, and fleet building and formation all have one-click purchase orders added in easily-accessed places, and your full build order can be viewed at a glance and rejigged with minimal fuss. Exploration ships have new, more nuanced AI settings to differentiate between basic exploration, prospecting, and spying. Even civilian transports show up on one menu tab, complete with their cargo or passenger manifest and a wee line on the map showing their flight plan. One of many details that experienced players will recognise as a potentially huge problem solver is the replacement of fiddly and unreliable supply ships with fuel tankers. These too can be supervised and manipulated from an accessible list, but more crucially will now seek out and deliver fuel directly to fleets, keeping them from abandoning their posts to fly back to a fuel source. At one point, Rutkins even says my holy word: "salvage". In addition to the
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Using Outerverse's name and art for fake blockchain metajunk Everyone can agree that it is at least a little bit funny when scammers run fake NFT drops and cryptocurrencies to fleece idiots, but it's less funny when innocent people get caught up in a scam. The publishers of Outerverse, a game about building automation and battling bosses, say scammers are pretending to run a blockchain version of the game and using this to sell cryptocurrency. It seems an obvious scam, which can't be good for the game's image. The real Outerverse launched into early access this month, made by Tbjbu2. It's a craft-o-fighty game about travelling through space, stopping on planets along the way to build giant automated industries and fight big bosses. What it's definitely not is part of the blockchain cryptoverse metafiction. Outverse publishers Freedom Games say it's being ripped off by the so-called Outerverse Metaverse & Decentralized Platform, a website which appears to be a version of Outerverse using cryptocurrency for... something? Freedom Games say it "illegally uses the real game's assets and the trademarked name" and yup, that's some Outerverse artwork alright. This crap Outerverse is selling a cryptocurrency which supposedly does... something? "$OUTERVERSE is developed Game Metaverse & DexSwap platform that connects gamers and enables trade token," the website says. "This gives $OUTERVERSE a real practical utility within the OUTERVERSE ecosystem. Embrace a platform where gamers and blockchain converge!" Mate that's just words. No particular words. Just some words. I also like that a link pointing to a section on 'tokenomics' (an actual real cryptocurrency term) is labelled "takenomics", a delicious Freudian slip. Even the site selling $OUTERVERSE warns, "Anyone can create a BEP20 token on BSC with any name, including creating fake versions of existing tokens and tokens that claim to represent projects that do not have a token." I cannot imagine reading all of this and thinking "Yes, that's for me." But while anyone who buys into this has more money than sense, being associated with a sc
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Game devs will need to support it, though With the Steam Deck’s February rollout bearing down, Valve are still unveiling the portable PC’s new tricks. The latest, as per a Steamworks Development blog post, is Dynamic Cloud Sync: a variation of Steam’s existing cloud save feature that ensures save files can sync between a player’s Steam Deck and PC even when the former is only suspended, rather than fully powered down. Like the Nintendo Switch, the Steam Deck can enter a low-power sleep mode that wil
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Tech seen in Hellblade 2 and Spider-Man: Miles Morales Two months after announcing they're buying Weta Digital, the CGI studio behind King Of The Hoops and that, Unity are now buying virtual skin. Today the makers of the Unity engine announced the acquisition of Ziva Dynamics, a company whose tech specialises in simulating skin and meat to make fancy facial animations and meaty muscle and such. Their tech powered the flappy flesh of the troll in a recent Hellblade 2 trailer, and has been seen on PlayStations in
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Pending recognition from Activision Blizzard With quality assurance workers at Raven Software preparing to unionise, the Activision Blizzard staff who have gone on strike to help secure better treatment for the team are looking to end the strike. The strike started on December 9th following surprise layoffs at the Call Of Duty: Warzone studio's QA department, with some other teams and Actiblizz people supporting them. Unused cash raised for a strike fund will be saved for future efforts. Raven QA workers announced on Friday that a majority of the team support unionisation, and will form a group called the Game Workers Alliance under the Communication Workers of American union. They've called for management to voluntarily recognise the union by Tuesday, and if not will go through the National Labor Board to get it started the hard way. "Pending the recognition of our union, the Raven QA strike has ended," tweeted the ABK Workers Alliance over the weekend. Also known as ABetterABK, they're a profilic group of Activision Blizzard employees who have led many efforts to demand changes over the past year. Their activities included starting a fund on GoFundMe to support striking workers, which has raised $376,593 (£278k). They say that once this strike ends, unused funds "are being stored for future organising/strike efforts." Everything's not settled with the strike just yet, mind. In a follow-up tweet, the ABK Workers Alliance clarified, "we have asked to be recognized under GWA, *pending* refers to pending response from leadership. Either positive or negative. We are acting in good faith and asking for good faith." For more on what drove Raven QA to unionise, check out their letter to Activision Blizzard leadership. God, for a minute I forgot about the other big news: that Microsoft are buying Activision Blizzard for $69 billion (£50b). Should shareholders and authorities approve, they'll open up their wallet and slap down a nice number of billions in an all-cash deal. Picking up 10,000 employees, two handfuls of studios, and several ongoing scandals about working conditions, Microsoft also plan to bring Actiblizz games to Game Pass and mine nostalgia.
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Codemasters’ Grid series continues its resurgence after 2019’s decent-but-slightly-neutered reboot. This time, it’s going right back to Codemasters' TOCA Race Driver roots and adding in a full-fat story mode, complete with real actors. No Scotty, mind, but we suppose they have to save something for the sequel. It’s this story mode we’ve been given early access to, so let’s jump in. Straight off, the game looks and feels very similar to that 2019 Grid reboot. Handling is a pleasing mix of realism and arcade accessibility, only now there’s less feeling of the engine bogging down on the exit of corners and the cars are less finicky when turning, so it’s more satisfying to play. Racing is close as you trade paint through city streets, nudge supercars into piles of shipping containers at the docklands or leap over ramps by the Eiffel Tower in the ridiculous, leaning stadium trucks. There are multiple viewpoints, but all of them are playable and the game is easy to pick up without feeling simplistic. Grid Legends also has a Kudos system of sorts, rewarding you with XP for performing drifts, drafts and maintaining the ideal racing line. But while your XP rises, your bank balance fluctuates depending on your team’s performance, with costs deducted against winnings after each event. It’s by no means a management sim, at least not in the six events of story mode that were available for us to play. In fact, in my preview build there was no option to spend any of that hard-earned (or just ‘earned’ if you use the rewind option all the time) cash just yet. Instead, the focus was all about the story. Dubbed ‘Driven to Glory’, this story mode does feel surprisingly like Codemasters' TOCA Race Driver 2’s career mode. However, since that's getting on for two decades since it came out, a more modern comparison would be to imagine F1 2021 with its pit scenes and drivers at different stages of their careers, but with the added facet of your team owner’s personality. In real motorsport, team principals are getting almost as much air time as the drivers these days, and that looks to be reflected here in Grid Legends, which is cool. What is particularly nice for long-time fans is the promise of seeing the face of Ravenwest driver Nathan McKane for the first time. He’s been a staple of the Grid series, and finally seeing the person behind the name did make a difference to my emotional investment in the game. The story begins with a serious crash, before rewinding 16 months to give you the lead-up to that incident. You play the part of a driver who’s called in at the last minute – referred to simply as ‘Number 22’ - to stand in for a team-mate who quit just before the start of the season because... well, he was rubbish. Nobody’s expecting you to shine, but all eyes are on your team to see whether it’ll implode or prevail. So you’ll see the team principal, Marcus Ado, your engineer Ajeet Singh, and your star team-mate, Yume Tanaka, conversing with each other and giving interviews in the access-all-areas documentary about the team that’s being filmed. I
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Sheesh, what a week. Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard for $69 billion is so weird that it's easy to lose your head and forget to say "Nice." Alice Bee has considered some of the implications while I'm also groaning hard about nostalgic navel-gazing reviving old Activision series. But it was nice to close out the week with news that Raven QA are unionising. Sheesh! Settle down, Actiblizz. Tell me gang, what are you playing this weekend? Alice Bee Strange Horticulture is out! I'm going to play some more over the weekend, because even after you finish the story there's more to do and I want to 100% my plant collection. Alice0 I'm enjoying Fallout 4 more than I expected, mostly because of the city. I find the rolling wastes of modern Fallout and Elder Scrolls games quite boring, just grass and hills dotted with huts each containing: two skeletons holding hands; three items of food I will never use; one hat I will never wear. But inner Boston's multilayered open warground is nice. I was also glad to learn that not every building is signposted with a place name and fast travel marker, rewarding exploration. Yesterday I found Cheers! Ed is on holday. Hayden This weekend, I'm torn between some Apex Legends and Warzone. Similar premises, but such different execution. I'm leaning towards Apex for its smooth movement, but Warzone is usually my favourite of the two. Outside of video games, the Curse of Strahd D&D campaign I play in seems to be setting up some kind of endgame. In this week's session, we need to journey across Barovia to revisit some past locations and find treasures that could help us defeat the grumpy vamp once and for all. My little gnome wizard, Stumbleduck, doesn't quite know where it all leads, but his journey to learn more about Ravenloft’s dark magic continues to prove fruitful. Father and Boy. James Either God of War or Death's Door. Both have been untouched on my SSD for over a week and I'm starting to get Tell-Tale Heart vibes. Katharine It's more Dad of War for me this weekend. I'm enjoying it immensely, but I can also feel it sinking its teeth into me in the same way Assassin's Creed Valhalla did last year. So far, I think I've spent as much time exploring the nooks and crannies of its big central lake area and getting distracted by sidequests as I have playing the main story, and goddamnit, why do I do this to myself? The completionist in me is winning and I do not have the time to spend the next three months playing this game to exhaustion. I must move on, but my curiosity will not allow it. My battle with big blockbuster games continues... Ollie I've been thoroughly enjoying playing Rainbow Six Extraction lately. Still getting absolutely stomped on the higher difficulty levels, but I think I actually prefer to make things just a little too hard for me. If I'm really forced to think on my feet to survive, it makes each mission much more dramatic and engaging than if I were just sneaking around popping alien heads and never slowing down. Setting the difficulty level up beyond my comfort zone makes the dangerous enemies seem truly frightening rather
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Imagine 80 Days by way of Dune and a Makoto Shinkai film There were a lot of games I played last year that could have been on our Best Games You Missed list at the end of 2021. I ended up going with Studio Pixel Punk's Unsighted in the end, but it was very nearly OPUS: Echo Of Starsong, a stunning visual novel adventure game from Taiwanese studio Sigono Inc. I'd seen a few other games journalists raving about it when it came out on Steam last September, and hey, over 3000 overwhelmi
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The Trojan Horse is a notorious boss As if Dark Souls wasn't dangerous enough already, Bandai Namco have temporarily
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. DDoS against the country's only ISP to hit Twitch's SquidCraft Games Andorra Telecom, the only Internet service provider in the tiny European principality, has suffered a series of cyber attacks disrupting Internet access nationwide—and supposedly it's all over a Minecraft tournament. The Twitch Rivals tournament SquidCraft Games over the weekend included a number of players in Andorra, several of whom dropped out after their connections exploded. Trying to blast a whol
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Say hello to Nagoshi Studio Last year it was reported that long-time Sega director behind the Yakuza and Super Monke
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. The RTX 3070 Ti’s extra £20 could be a lot worse, all things considered As spotted by VideoCardz, Nvidia have been bumping up the prices of their latest reference cards: the GeForce RTX 30 Founders Edition series. Here in the UK it’s only the RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition that’s seen a hike, from £529 up to £549, but over in the lands of the Euro these graphics cards will set buyers back up to €100 more than before. That’s for the RTX 3090 FE, which now sits at a widowmaking €1,649, while the rest of the range has gained between €20 and €60 in wallet weight. There’s a bit of a worry that we’ll see more of these price changes in the UK. While stock is vanishingly rare even by modern GPU standards, the Founders Edition models have presented some of the best opportunities to actually buy a new graphics card at retail value, either direct from Nvidia or from partnered retailers like Scan. Knowing both that, and the fact that these are some of the best graphics cards on the market, any further rise in the barrier to entry is going to disappoint. That said, when it comes to price gouging, the green team clearly has a lot to learn – what’s another £20 when other RTX 3070 Ti models are going on Amazon for £1,200 or more? Come on, Nvidia, you’re not even artificially inflating these prices by double. Amateur hour, honestly. I guess there’s also the possibility of these Founders Edition rises being used to justify other RTX 30 series models getting even more expensive, but then nobody should be dropping several times the RRP on a graphics card to begin with. Even if it is a really, really tasty one. Indeed, even if the whole lot of Founders Edition cards got the same hikes in the UK as they have in the EU, they’d still likely remain among the best-value GPU options available. Sometimes available, anyway.
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Latest iteration of classic TCG is a megahit I mostly associate Yu-Gi-Oh! with its manga and anime and all its hairstyles you could cut your hand on. It's also, of course, an enormously popular trading card game, and its latest digital iteration, Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, came to Steam this past week. It's currently the fourth most popular game on the platform by concurrent players. At the time of writing, 172k people are playing the free-to-play card game, with a peak today of 255k. Duel Links, the previous iteration from 2017, was popular but never got anywhere close to that many players. Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is a robust recreation of the phyisical trading card game. It contains over 10,000 cards from which you can build your deck, tutorials to teach you how to play, and a Solo Mode with a storyline that'll help you practice. On its surface, Yu-Gi-Oh! works similarly to a lot of card games. You build a deck of around 60 cards and take turns to deploy monster, spell and trap cards. Monster cards attack your opponent's monsters or the opponent directly, and the game ends with one player's life points reach zero or they run out of cards. There is a lot of unique nuance beyond that, but I'm not
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Mostly because of the price Hitman 1-3 is a fantastic trilogy and, also, a curse upon digital storefronts. Hitman 3 frustrated players when it first launched on Epic, because their progress didn't carry over; Hitman 1 frustrated players on GOG last year because its internet requirements constitute DRM; and now Hitman 3 is back at it again on Steam. It currently has "Mixed" reviews after arriving on the platform earlier this week, with players cross about its price, its umpteen editions, and - yes, again - progress not carrying over for some. At the time of writing, Hitman 3 on Steam has a mere 50% positive reviews. Chief among the issues in negative reviews is the price, which is set at £50/$60 for the standard edition. That's the same price as when it launched a year ago on the Epic Games Store. Some reviews feel it should be lower given a year has passed, while others feel there should be a launch discount. Many users point out that the game has previously been more than half-off on the Epic Games Store. The issue is that some players waited a year for the game to come to Steam, and feel they ought to be compensated for waiting, while others already own it on Epic or on console and are buying it again for the additional content or to own all three games in one place. In either case, players seemingly feel entitled to a cheaper game. Making matters worse is that Hitman 3 has a particularly complicated set of editions. There's the aforementioned standard edition, plus a deluxe edition, the Hitman Trilogy, the Trilogy Premium Add-Ons Bundle, the Hitman 3: Seven Deadly Sins Collection, and the Hitman 3 Access Pass: Hitman 2 Gold. These various bundles are offered in respect of players who already own some parts of the content elsewhere, or already own previous games, but trying to work out which contains what and which you should buy is a mission. Still more complaints centre on some of the new content added for this Steam release, particularly the addition of the previously PlayStation-exclusive virtual reality mode. Most reviews don't offer specifics, only suggesting that
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Details changes within troubled studio Blizzard Entertainment head Mike Ybarra says their top priority is to "rebuild your trust in Blizzard." In a new blog post, Ybarra outlines the steps the company is taking, including new senior positions dedicated to improving their culture. These moves come in the wake of several lawsuits alleging a culture of harassment and discrimination within the company. The post announcing the plans also comes days after Microsoft announced their intent to buy Activision Blizzard. At the top of the list of changes are that Blizzard will measure "our executive and management teams directly against culture improvement. This means their (and my own) success and compensation will directly depend on our overall success in creating a safe, inclusive, and creative work environment at Blizzard." They've established new full-time roles dedicated to "improving our culture", rather than relying on employee resource groups "filled with people who already have full-time jobs." The new roles include a "Culture leader", a new leader for human resources, and a Diversity, Equity And Inclusion leader. Ybarra also writes that they've set goals on improving representation within the company, put in place an "upward feedback program" so that employees can evaluate management, and tripled the size of their "compliance and investigation" teams. "This applies to all employees at Blizzard, including leadership and management," says the post. On paper, these are encouraging steps. Part of the lawsuits brought against Activision Blizzard allege that those reporting bad behaviour were retaliated against, because their complaints were not confidential. Likewise, Activision Blizzard's supposed 'zero tolerance' policy does not extend as high as CEO Bobby Kotick. Mike Ybarra took over as the leader of Blizzard after J. Allen Brack stepped down in the immediate aftermath of the lawsuits. Ybarra was initially co-leader of the company with Jen Oneal, but Oneal left after three months. Her public statement on her departure said she was "inspired by the passion" of those working t
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. "Palworld looks like Pokémon until you see the guns and sweatshop", wrote Alice O last year. Palworld has now returned with a second trailer, which continues in kind. The pals are again seen crafting machineguns in a sweatshop - but also crafting space rockets, being strapped to beds in nightmare hospitals, and dragged while tethered to the backs of moving trucks. Let's face it, it's already pretty weird that actual Pokémon are pit against one another in virtual cockfights. It's also not as if other games, such as the Monster Hunter series, don't already partner you in fights with cute we
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Get in and hunt that monst Capcom have released a new Monster Hunter Rise patch aimed at fixing a frustrating bug with save files which stopped some would-be players from playing at all. Thankfully, a week and change later, that seems to be fixed—though a little extra fiddling is required if you did suffer this bug. When Rise finally launched on PC last Wednesday, some unlucky players found themselves trapped in a terrible loop: you need to create a new save to start playing, but it failed to create a new save, but it would still tell them to create a new save, but it would fail to create a new save, but etc. A real problem. That should now be fixed, thanks to the release of patch v3.6.1.1. If you did s
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A majority of QA workers at the CoD: Warzone developers are united What a ridiculous week. Activision Blizzard came in on Monday dragging a trail of lawsuits and scandal with allegations of widespread discrimination and harassment, on Tuesday were being bought by Microsoft for $69 billion (£50 billion), and now on Friday they've grown a union. 34 quality assurance testers at the Activision Blizzard studio Raven Software, who currently maintain Call Of Duty: Warzone, are forming a union named the Game Workers Alliance. They're seeking better working conditions in the wake of Raven QA layoffs. In a letter to Activision Blizzard leadership, the workers say that following the layoffs which started on the 3rd of December, "it has become apparent that the current working conditions have become untenable". They complain about crunch, broken trust, poor pay relative to others, an expectation to relocate for new positions, and "the continued cultural and ethical conflicts currently circulating the company as a whole." Following weeks of strikes by many, now Raven QA are planning to unionise. The Game Work
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Just waiting for my peaceful time skip I’ve always entertained the idea of an apocalypse. I mean, zombies are definitely scary, but it’d be a cool fantasy to play out. Over the years, I’ve even formed my own little plan. Loot some local houses and then set up a base in the fire station on my street. They’ve got electric gates and metal fences to guard the perimeter, a renewable power source thanks to a wind turbine on the roof, and a really handy watchtower. I thought 11 years of The Walking Dead would’ve prepared me fairly well and I fancied my chances. So, I made myself in Project Zomboid. It turns out, everything I learned from The Walking Dead was useless. My Zomboid character was modeled as close to me as possible, which ended up being a very bad character build. Zomboid asks you to pick from a list of positive and negative traits, and I got a lot of negatives. A sleepy, clumsy, disorganised guy with poor eyesight and hearing. Oh, and he’s scared of anything gory. This does not bode well. Still, I think he’s poised for greatness. Most classic heroes are defined by their flaws, after all. Achilles heel and all that. Maybe the great flaw that I'll overcome is being completely unprepared for the apocalypse in every way possible. It all kicks off in some kind of abandoned office. Maybe RPS crumbled and I’m the only one left. As I comb through the desks hoping for half-eaten apples and any other apocalyptic delights to munch on, I find a strange amount of nightsticks. Why does everyone in the RPS treehouse have nightsticks in their desks? Oh wait, no. I’m in a police st
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Pupperazzi is a game about taking pictures of dogs. They are, as is traditional, very cute dogs. You go around several areas that increase in complexity and dog saturation, completing photo challenges and unlocking more and more complex areas. An extreme sports dog wants a picture of a dog riding a scooter. The old sea-dog at the beach would like a photo of any dog, as long as the lighthouse is in the background. In return for this you get golden bones as a form of currency to buy different kinds of film, or weird lenses, to kick your photography into the next gear. It's cute. It's a really nice playground that facilitates the player's own creativity. You can pet dogs to make them happy, or find toys to make them do different things: turn on a radio and any furry pals nearby bust out some truly astonishing moves; throw a stick to initiate a huge game of fetch. You post your photos to a kind of dog-centric Instagram for likes and comments (possibly from dogs; possibly from humans). The colourful, chunky art, combined with deliberately stiff animation where nobody can move their joints, really reminds me of Playmobil toys. Despite this carefree, playful tone, I also find it unaccountably sinister. I am aware that I find things creepy when they're not meant to be. This is a me problem. And there are lots of things in Pupperazzi that are genuinely wholesome. But it is the juxtaposition with the wholesome presentation
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. If I ever achieve immortality, there might be time to sit down and work out exactly why some building games grab me and some don't. I fear I am too often left with a page of notes that are just variations on the word "vibes". Perhaps some taxonomy would help. Moons Of Ardan is a space colony building game that's mostly about balancing production rates by placing buildings. Less dryly, you're mak
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Now headed straight to a full launch later this year Early access is a mixed bag. Sometimes it's an exciting early glimpse, sometimes it feels like supporting a developer or game you care about, and sometimes it can feel more like paying to beta test. That last one won't be a concern with Blood Bowl 3, not anymore. The latest adaptation of Games Workshop's tabletop fantasy
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Because the past isn't allowed to be over Of the many possibilities that Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard might enable, only one seems really clear: that Microsoft will put Actiblizz games on Game Pass. Beyond that, it's all mights and maybes. Here's another maybe: Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer says they're hoping to dig into Actiblizz's "franchises that I love from my childhood," raising the likes of Hexen and King's Quest. What better use for $69 billion than wallowing in nostalgia? "I was looking
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Valve are gearing up for the first batch of Steam Decks to be shipped to players next month. Part of the preparation is rolling out their compatibility review program, which will let you know which games on Steam work best with Valve's handheld PC. The verification status of the first set of games can now be found via SteamDB, though not yet the Steam interface itself. As spotted by the SteamDeck community on Reddit, 67 games have so far received a rating. 39 games have received "Verified" status, including Death Stranding, Cuphead, Hollow Knight, Dark Souls 3 and Into The Breach. 23 more ha
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. But where's the forklift racing? I missed the announcement in 2020 that among the many game-to-anime adaptations coming our way was Shenmue. Now there's a proper trailer for what's creatively titled Shenmue The Animation, which just like the original game sets Ryo on his path to avenging his father's death. Shenmue The Animation is a co-production of Cartoon Network's adult-oriented spin-off Adult Swim and anime streaming service Crunchyroll. It'll begin airing on February 5th with 13 episodes produced. I have regrettably been RPS's resident anime guy for a long tim
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A free browser game built using Wikipedia data Which came first, the founding of Siemens or the reconstruction of the Palace Of Westminster? And was Finland established as an independent state before or after the birth of Mexican film actress Dolores del Rio? The answers are "Siemens" and "after", respectively. These are things I have learned today while playing WikiTrivia, a free browser game by Tom Watson which pulls historical dates from WikiData and challenges you to put them in the correct order. The historical events are represented as cards, telling you the subject ("Bosporan Kingdom", "Russian Civil War", "Nero Claudius Drusus") and the type of date it's looking for ("Created", "Ended", "Born").
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Take photos of celebrity dogs Hear the name Pupperazzi and you can probably guess what it's about. Dogs, yes. Taking photos of dogs. Perfect, no? It's out now on Steam and Xbox Game Pass. Here's the launch trailer: The name does, I suppose, bring connotations of other things. Hanging around outside clubs to get photos of dogs as they stumble into the night. Telephoto lenses trained on dogs on the beach. Helicopters hovering above dogs on dates in the park. It's OK here because they're dogs, and because you'll be getting your sneaky celebrity dog snaps by double jumping across buildings. As you catalogue the canines, you can make choices about your photography career and upgrade your camera. It's a pr
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. As well as workplace bullying Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has been in development for five years and suffered multiple delays, but it now has a new release date. The latest Lego spin on Star Wars, which covers all nine main films, will release on April 5th. At the same time as Warner Bros. announced the release date however, Polygon published a lengthy report on extensive crunch suffered by employees working on the game at developers TT Games. Based on interviews with more than 30 current and former TT Games employees, Polygon's report paints a bleak pictur
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Plus a 25% discount on the base game right now Amplitude Studios today released the first proper paid DLC for Humankind, adding new African cultures. Perhaps more importantly than that, they released another patch. A Civilization-esque strategy game from the makers of Endless Space and Endless Legend sounded great but some found it suffered issues with bugs, balance, and general polish. So sure, expanding the game with DLC, sure sure, tell me about making what's already there better. Amplitude laid out some of their plans on that front, too. First, the paid stuff. The Cultures Of Africa Pack It adds six new historical African cultures across the eras, complete with new Wonders, new independent people, and
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Panic. Panic at the museum reception desk, as the astronaut suit I have belatedly possessed is set upon by a four-strong team of ghost busters. We’re in the opening seconds of the round and only 20 minutes into my Midnight Ghost Hunt hands-on preview, which means I’ve yet to figure out important concepts like ‘where the hunters spawn in’, or nuances like ‘this button lets me hide in props’ as opposed to ‘this button telekinetically waggles props about like ectoplasmic dinner bells’. As ghosts we’re supposed to mostly stay schtum for the five minutes it takes to reach midnight, at which point we get to both metaphorically and literally flip the tables on the living. Instead: panic. Fortunately, I’m playing with
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Great fixer upper opportunities There was a small recording blip at the start of this week's podcast, but apart from the opening banter we've got a great episode this week. We open an estate agent to appraise the houses in games that would actually be good to live in. It turns out there aren't that many. Not a lot of them would be convenient. There's an excellent Cavern Of Lies this week, in which Nate hosts a game-themed episode of Through The Keyhole in character as Lloyd Grossman/a robot version of Matt Berry. We also have some great diversions and some opening chat about the time my friend was a real life suspect in a murder for a few days. Plus: Matthew had an unpleasant experience watching House Of G
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. RPS supporters assemble! Live Through the benevolence of Horace and his assorted tech wizards, the RPS Treehouse now has another writing tool at our disposal: liveblogs! Today, we're testing it out with the help of RPS supporters to make sure everything's running nice and smoothly. To ask us a question, post a comment over on the right there and we'll respond in real-time. Give it a try! More Features
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Dunno if you’ve noticed, but there’s been a whole lot of news lately. Too much news in fact. Growing up, we barely had any news. There was just one bit of news that we’d all have to share. A man would drive around our village with the news in the back of his van, and we’d all come out of our houses to watch as he slid open the doors and pointed at it, saying “well, here is the news”. And it was the same news, every day. The news about the hole in the ozone layer. And it was all the news we needed. Not For Broadcast puts you in charge of all of the news. Set in an alternate timeline 1980s Britain in which an authoritarian far-left party has swept to power on a wave of populist policies, it casts the player as the le
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Ah, to be good with plants. Apparently it was a thing, wasn't it, that my generation all got into house plants, especially during lockdown. A friend of mine has a positively ebullient front room full of lush, green darlings that have names like Hercules. My brother-in-law, absent any real space, has mounted glass spheres of water on his wall and grows little flowers and trailing vines from them. I, on the other hand, am a plant killer. Apart from in Strange Horticulture, when I run a spooky and ethereal plant shop in a town called Undermere, in an alternate-universe version of The Lake District. There, my plants are happy and weird, and with them I can save the world. I can do all manner of more mundane things in Strange Horticu
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Year 2 will bring a new level and another mode later too It's a big day for splendid sandbox stealth stabber Hitman 3, now entering its second year of content and support. The developers, Io Interactive are going hard out the gate by adding the new Elusive Target Arcade mode and bringing VR support to PC. It's also ending Epic exclusivity today, hitting not only Steam but Game Pass too, with the full trilogy coming to Microsoft's subscription service. Busy busy. So. Lots going on. Let's start niche. After VR support debuted on PlayStation, Hitman now lets you jack in with cybergoggles on PC too. You too can see through a murderer's eyes and murder with a murderer's hands. It works with a variety of Valve
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Bit Reactor are led by XCOM's art director A small group of former Firaxis developers who worked on the XCOM games, led by the series' art director, have opened a new studio dedicated to making turn-based tactics games. Bit Reactor is their name, and turn-based tactics really is their only type of game. They haven't announced any specific game yet but say they have several titles in development. Bit Reactor's declaration of existence says their "central vision is to define the future of turn-based tactics games by weaving in the high-end production values, riveting storytelling and innovative design for a best-in-class gameplay experience". No details on anything specific, not yet. Bit Reactor boast quite a few folks who worked at Firaxis on their reboot of the venerated X-COM series, led by CEO Greg Foertsch, who was the art director of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2. Others include Piero Macgowan (XCOM 1&2 concept artist), Hector Antunez (X1&2 animator and Chimera Squad art director), Stephanie Gitlin (X1&2 character artist), and Kevin Schultz (Chimera Squad marketing man). Plus some other people, even some who—gasp!—didn't work on XCOM at all. They're still hiring, too, with listings expected on their website soon. "The genre is so malleable," Foertsch told GamesIndustry.biz. "Look at Mario Rabbids and Gears Tactics, they couldn't be more different. But they all have the same DNA underneath them. There's a lot of flexibility in it. "If you lead with story and immersion, I think you can find ways to just make a great game and not just make a strategy game." XCOM designer Jake Solom
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. They're still working to finish the game Dice are continuing their efforts to fix up Battlefield 2042, with today bringing a patch fixing issues including some wonky hit registration, some crashes, and a bit of rubberbanding. Looking ahead, they've also revealed the much-requested new scoreboard which will arrive in February. After a few months, maybe the game will get to the state it should have been in when it launch in November. Battlefield 2042 update 3.2 is now live on all platforms. It's mostly focused on fixes, addressing several crash problems and a whole lot of problems with the Soldier. These Soldier issues include: Fixed a rare occurrence where after landing with the Wingsuit, hits wouldn't always register on some parts of Sundance's hitbox Fixed occurrences of rubberbanding when running behind friendly players Fixed a rare issue that could cause you to be stuck in both an alive, and downed loop Fixed a variety of issues with attaching to ladders that could cause you to get stuck in a state where you could fly away or lose control of your Specialist Fixed an issue where soldier movement speed was impaired by nearby explosions that spawned craters Fixed an issue where camera shake and audio for landing would unintentionally trigger when dropping from very small heights The update also fixed a problem which meant vehicle passengers would have their hit registration messed up when the driver's turret rotated. See the patch notes for info
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We’re in a bit of a “love letter” media period right now. Some old things come back with new things to say, like The Matrix Resurrections, and some old things come back simply to enjoy themselves, and remind yesteryear fans what they loved about the original in the first place, like Scream. Windjammers 2 falls firmly into the latter category. After successfully resurrecting Streets Of Rage for another bout in 2020, developer Dotemu are up to the same old tricks, bringing Windjammers all the way back from 1994 (before I was even born) with a fresh coat of paint and some brand new ultimate frisbee-style action in this sequel. Dotemu’s revival is really simple on the surface: two people pelt a frisbee back and forth with enough energy to knock the shit of each other, aiming to put the frisbee past their opponent and into a “goal” area. The point is to put the frisbee where your opponent can’t get it, rebounding the flying disc off walls and even barriers in the middle of the court to send it beyond their reach and bag yourself goal points. This is ultimate frisbee, but if the frisbee could defy the laws of physics. Catching the frisbee from your foe, you’ve got a precious few seconds to decide how to hoon it: you could bend the frisbee around your opponent, rapidly rebound it off the edges of the court, or toss it up into the air like a volleyball. Simply lobbing the thing back and forth is Windjammers 2 at its most basic; bending and circling the frisbee around your opponent opens it into a rapid game of moving parts. Windjammers 2 turns into an electrifying test of your reflexes in the defensive phase. Dotemu have extended the slide ability a little compared to the original to cover more ground, so you can go skidding around the court on your knees to quickly intercept frisbees blitzing and bounding towards your half of the court that’d normally be just out of your reach. Here, no frisbee is ever out of your reach - the onus is on your reflexes to see if you can accurately predict its winding path at high speeds to your side of the court. The reaction times sort o
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The hugely popular visual novel hits MS's subscription service Microsoft swallowed up all of Tuesday's attention with their plan to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, drowning out even good news of their own. Along with surprise, concern, and bafflement, yesterday brought Game Pass news. Yes yes they do plan to add Actiblizz games to Game Pass while they can, but there's more: 1) the service now has over 25 million subscribers across PC and Xbox; 2) cult classic Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is now on Game Pass. You know, the one with the weird bear and the murdergames. Along with those 69 bees, Microsoft boasted about the 25 emms in the big announcement, casually mentioning that "Game Pass now has more than 25 million subscribers". Big number, but not a surprising one given how much of a bargain it is. That's where they also announced that once the Actiblizz deal is settled (expected by June 2023, if shareholders and regulatory authorities approve), they plan to "offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass", both new and old. But that's the vague future. What's concrete is that Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is on Game Pass right now, dr
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Plus other new things coming up on RPS in 2022 Hello folks. I would say Happy New Year, but it's already the 19th January and we've had two of the biggest news stories of the year in the space of a week, so I think that means it's officially too late to keep banging the old New Year drum, isn't it? The sentiment remains, of course, even if I do now feel a thousand years old in the process. Rather than reaching for the annual reset button, though, today I wanted to talk about some of the new and exciting things that are coming up on RPS this year. For starters, our tech team's just handed us a brand-new liveblogging feature, and we'd like you, our RPS supporters, to help us test it out tomorrow at 4pm GMT. More Features Latest Articles Rebecca Jones an hour ago Rebecca Jones an hour ago Hayden Hefford an hour ago Hayden Hefford an hour ago Supporter Only Articles We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes
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Missing out on this could be a grave mistake Announced at last year’s The Game Awards, Have A Nice Death is a roguelike platformer developed by Magic Design Studios where you play as Death, CEO of the underworld. Your employees have gone berserk and thrown your vacation plans into disarray, so must wield your trusty scythe and travel into the depths of your company to hack them all back to their stations. It looks good! And it’s coming to Steam early access in March. Have A Nice Death hits Steam Early Access on the 8th March and will set you back £11. It’s launching later on Steam Deck, so if you wanted to play it on the tube you’ll need to wait a while longer. As for what sort of death-dealing you’ll get to perform in the game’s early access period, well, it’ll be the first five departments worth. ”Currently, the game feels like how the full release should. There are several worlds, each filled with their respective bosses (Sorrows), their minions, as well as fun NPC characters”, the devs say. Early access is planned to last for “approximately one year” as they believe it will “feel complete then”. However, this doesn’t mean that the game won’t have future support. If all goes to plan, the game will be “more than twice as large as it will be at the start of Early Access”, with a more fleshed out storyline alongside “new curses, new worlds, new enemies (bosses and mini bosses) and new weapons”. With this in mind, the devs intend to increase Have A Nice Death’s price when it emerges out of early access. No word on just how much, but they say they’ll keep us informed nearer the time. Just from the trailer alone it looks like a roguelike Hollow Knight with less killer bugs and more angry ghosts. Aside from the lovely art style and flashy combat, it looks super polished already. And that’s a great sign, considering how it’s a game that likely features tough bosses that demand twitchy dodges. Consider me very interested, indeed.
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Songs Of Glimmerwick is coming next year, has flutes If you're after a way to make your magic system seem cutesy yet different at the same time, music is a good one to go for. Sure, it's been done before, but it feels inherently charming. At least, it does in the trailer for newly-revealed Songs Of Glimmerwick, a new game from Eastshade Studios that promises to blend RPG, adventure, and gardening. No specific release date is confirmed, aside from "next year". I have to give them credit for the name Songs Of Gli
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Sometimes you have no choice but to admire hard graft, even if it's illegal graft. In this case, it's a Russian bootleg copy of The Simpsons Hit & Run which we're admiring, mainly because the bootlegger has dubbed every character in every cutscene. The result is magnificent and just really funny, to be honest. Twitter user Emi Fisher downloaded a bootleg Russian copy of Simpsons Hit & Run, a cult classic from 2003, perhaps best described as a Simpsons parody of Grand Theft Auto 3. Bootlegs are always a bit jank, but she discovered th
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Corporate monopolies might be inevitable, but they also aren't good When I held that monkey's paw and wished for more games to appear on Game Pass, I didn't mean like this! I don't know if anyone has been brave enough to come out and say this, but Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard is... problematic. Even before you consider the serious and unresolved allegations of workplace misconduct at ActiBlizz, there's no easy "this is good, actually" point of view to have here. Even if you cast Xbox's Phil Spencer as a shining Herculean figure, coming to clean out the mountain of shit from Bobby Kotick's Augean stable, you have to concede that he's blasting it with a hose of money. Kotick, Activision Blizzard's CEO, will have pocketed several billions from the $68.7 of them involved in this deal. But even if I wasn't angry about that amount of money existing to be given to one person (I filed and paid my 2020/21 tax return literally yesterday), and even if I wasn't grimly unsurprised about how little the market cares about allegations of sustained and systemic abuse, and even if ActiBlizz had an unblemished record, this sale would be bad. Activision Blizzard being the centre of a hurricane of lawsuits and sexual harassment accusations makes it worse, of course. But this monopoly, the growing consolidation of game developers into a small handful of large, risk averse, homogenised companies is not healthy for us, or the industry, in the long run. We recently made a topic tag to, ahem, consolidate our articles about the ongoing consolidation of the games industry, and boy has it been ramping up in the past year or so. With this new acquisition, Microsoft becomes "the third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony." Kotick said in an interview about the acquisition that "there’s more competition than we’ve ever seen for games" because, I guess, Facebook want to do games now? But... In the last year, Tencent acquired Turtle Rock and Sumo Digital, as well as stakes in Bohemia Interactive, Dontnod Entertainment and Remedy, to go along with majority stakes in Klei, Riot, and a 40% stake in Epic Games, among many others - including a 5% stake in ActiBlizz. In 2019, Microsoft bought Double Fine, before making another splashy acquisition of Bethesda in 2020, and still th
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. My favourite bit of business fanfic from the Microsoft acquisition Of all the uncertainty, rumour, speculation, claims, hopes, and business fanfic surrounding Microsoft's $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard, here's my favourite bit. The Wall Street Journal claim someone told them that Actiblizz CEO Bobby Kotick wanted to 'change the narrative' around the company following many allegations of discrimination and harassment, and he thought that one way to do that was buying some of the video games media, such as Kotaku or cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer. Oh that would change the narrative alright! Here's the full section on that from the WSJ report: "Mr. Kotick has been eager to change the public narrative about the company, and in recent weeks has suggested Activision Blizzard make some kind of acquisition, including of gaming-trade publications like Kotaku and PC Gamer, according to people familiar with him. The Activision spokeswoman, Ms. Klasky, disputed that Mr. Kotick wanted to make the acquisitions. A spokesman for G/O Media, the parent company of Kotaku, declined to comment. PC Gamer didn’t respond to a request for comment." Extremely vague. Sources might as well be your uncle who works at Nintendo. And yet, even if this is more business fanfic, I want to say thank you to that fanfic writer. The idea of improving media coverage of the company by buying the media is inspired. I mean, many squillionaires have demonstrably improved their medi
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Eight hours with the Ruinous Powers The first time I wrote about Total War: Warhammer, Ed Milliband had just lost a general election because of a sandwich. There’s a joke there about him stepping down but the Chaos having remained, but I can’t figure it out. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is this: it’s been almost seven years since then. SEVEN! And I’m still head over heels in love with these games even now. Somehow, impossibly, that seems to be holding true for Warhammer 3 as well. In a recent hands-on event, I was able to play something like eight hours worth of this final game in the trilogy from the comfort of my own spare room. Having not done a “digital preview” before now, this was something of a revelation to me. Wearing my comfortable clothes and with a steady supply of big mugs of tea, I booted up the game, hit ‘New Campaign’ and was greeted with the following screen. Eagled-eyed readers will have spotted an eighth, as-yet-unannounced faction here called the Daemons of Chaos. I’m assuming they’ve just been announced as this article was published? If not, wow, what a scoop! Unlike the other four playable Chaos factions, the Daemons of Chaos are a sort of hybrid thing that has players courting each of the Ruinous Powers in turn and in doing so, gaining access to buildings and units from across their grotesque rosters. Led by a scorned Daemon Prince, this faction is
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Whatever happens to Kotick, there's lots of work to do Microsoft yesterday announced plans to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion (£50 million), a staggering and un-nice quantity of money for the video games company behind Call Of Duty and Warcraft. They're buying the company at a troubled time, with multiple lawsuits alleging widespread sexual discrimination and harassment, an ongoing strike over QA layoffs, and employees publicly calling for the removal of the CEO, Bobby Kotick. A campaign group of employees known as the ABK Workers Alliance say the acquisition doesn't change their goals. Since last summer, several California state departments and many employees have accused the company of suffering widespread problems with sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. For years, they seemed content to ignore it. Later allegations said CEO Bobby Kotick was more aware of issues than he had let on, and allegedly even intervened to prevent the firing of a Treyarch studio co-head who had been investigated for sexual harassment. It seems that Kotick is staying on until the deal closes, at least, which is expected to happen by June 2023 (pending approval from shareholders and authorities). It sounds like he'll likely leave after that, but it's hazy. Kotick told VentureBeat that he's willing to stay on however long it takes "a proper and smooth transition", whether that's a month after the close or a year. And despite his position, he's still only one person in a company of 10,000 employees which has seemingly experienced widespread problems. Through all this, many Activision Blizzard employees have broken the video game industry's usual wall of silence (I totally understand why people fear reprisal). They've signed an open letter protesting the company's response, staged several walkouts including one demanding Kotick's removal, and more. A lot of this action has been led by an employee group formed under the banner of ABK Worker's Alliance, also known as ABetterABK. In a statement posted across a Twitter thread last night, they say the acquisition "is surprising, but does not change the goals of the ABK Worker's Alliance". They explained: We remain committed to fighting for workplace improvements and the rights of our employees regardless of who is financially in control of the company. We will continue to work alongside our allies across the gaming industry to push for measurable change in an industry that desperately needs it. We called for the removal of Bobby Kotick as CEO in November for shielding abusers and he still remains CEO as of this writing. The strike for Raven QA is in its fifth week, and our striking staff has still not received response from leadership regarding our request to negotiate. And finally, 3 out of 4 of our original collective demands to improve the conditions of women in our workforce have not been met. Whatever the leadership structure of the company, we will continue our push to #EndAbuseInGaming, and appreciate the outpouring of support we've experienced in the last year. Activision Blizzard have been investigating ind
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It turns out Rainbow Six Extraction is more cerebral and stealthy than the co-op shooters I’m used to; the other day I accompanied Hayden and Ed on a few missions for the latter’s review, and spent most of them either accidentally summoning hordes of parasite monsters or being hauled to medevac while encased in protective foam. Between my cocoon-muffled cries for help, however, I did manage to get a good look into how Extraction runs on PC, as well as the best settings to tweak if you want better performance. It’s a bit of a odd one, this, especially after the super-straightforward God of War PC port. Several graphical components that levy a big performance tax in most games, like shadows, seem to barely affect how Extraction runs even with clear visual differences between the quality levels. And one of the most impactful settings is solely dedicated to a sticky black goop. PC gaming is weird. Still, once you know which setting does what, it’s easy enough to find a healthy balance between frames per second and tacticool post-invasion aesthetics. Rainbow Six Extraction PC system requirements Ubisoft’s PC spec suggestions are a tad higher than those of Extraction’s progenitor, Rainbow Six Siege, though that makes a certain sense: Extraction has bigger maps, new effects and the potential for a lot more on-screbeen AI enemies than the handful of human players you face in Siege. Even so, these requirements don’t ask for much overall, and most older rigs should be fine for 1080p. Rainbow Six Extraction Minimum PC specs OS – Windows 10 (64-bit) CPU – AMD Ryzen 3 1200 / Intel Core i5-4460 GPU – AMD Radeon R9 290X / Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 RAM – 8GB (dual-channel) Storage – 85GB available space Rainbow Six Extraction Recommended PC specs OS – Windows 10 (64-bit) CPU – AMD Ryzen 5 1500X / Intel Core i7-4790K GPU – AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB) / Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 RAM – 16GB (dual-channel) Storage – 85GB available space Turning our attention to more recent hardware, Extraction supports Nvidia DLSS and Reflex Low Latency, so anyone with one of the best graphics cards from the GeForce stable will able to claim a performance boost through DLSS’s upscaling tricks. For testing, I used an RTX 3070 GPU, an Intel Core i5-11600K and 16GB of dual channel RAM, a configuration that will eat 1080p alive and can easily get high frame rates at 1440p. Even higher ones, too, with a few choice settings changes… Rainbow Six Extraction: best settings guide Extraction sure does like its graphics presets, with seven to choose from, including three different flavours of Low. Specifically you can slap on an Ultra, Very High, High, Medium, Low, Very Low or Ultra Low preset, the results of which you can see below. Almost all of the individual graphics settings are similarly granular, and can be toggled anywhere between Ultra and Ultra Low for a more fine-tuned approach. Indeed, like the one we’re going for with this guide. Ultra Low and Very Low’s overly basic lighting and texture detailing means they should be avoided as much as your PC will allow, and to be honest even Low i
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And it's home to clever, clever aliens Rainbow Six Extraction is a spin-off from Rainbow Six Siege's popular Outbreak mode, which saw Tom Clancy's operators fending off aliens instead of each other. Well, Extraction is a tactical FPS that builds on what made Outbreak great by repurposing Siege's PvP prowess into a moreish Left 4 Dead-like. Unpicking an alien hivemind with your mates is a real thrill, as is simply coming back from a mission alive. While it doesn't do anything to blow you away, it does more than enough to keep you coming back for a quick alien-busting session here and there. If you were hopin
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It's for local co-op, but you can work around that to play online The PC version of Ys IX: Monstrum Nox now supports
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The best Minecraft 1.18 seeds How to find Diamonds in Minecraft 1.18 The best guns in Call Of Duty: Warzone Next Genshin Impact banner Latest
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Rome is where the heart is I used to think that big, intricate character customisation systems were pretty much man
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In the wake of scandal and lawsuits alleging a culture of discrimination and harrassment at Activision Blizzard, Microsoft today announced they're buying the company. Wait, hang on. What. That's not what I expected when Xbox head Phil Spencer told staff he was "evaluating all aspects of [Xbox's] relationship" with Activision Blizzard. Microsoft plan to pay $68.7 billion (£50 billion) for the company, which will nab them games including Warcraft, Call Of Duty, and Overwatch. Jesus. Pending approval from shareholders and authorities, Microsoft will buy up Activision Blizzard in a cash deal valued at $68.7 billion [almost nice -ed.]. They'll pick up video game series including Call Of Duty, Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Candy Crush, Starcraft, and Diablo, along with 10,000 employees at studios and arms including Blizzard Entertainment, Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Raven Software, Toys For Bob, Sledgehammer Games, King, Beenox, High Moon Studios, Radical Entertainment, and Major League Gaming. They expect the deal to close in their 2023 fiscal year, so by the end of June 2023. Microsoft say once everything's settled, they "will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard's incredible catalog." This a huge jump in the consolidation of the video games industry. Microsoft's announcement says they "will become the world's third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony." They add that buying ABK will feed into their cloud gaming push and "will provide building blocks for the metaverse". Can't forgot the M-word when you're talking to investors. Activision Blizzard will report to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, but Bobby Kotick will remain CEO of Activision Blizzard. That's the same Bobby Kotick who allegedly knew more about workplace problems than he let on, and allegedly intervened to prevent the firing of a Treyarch high-up who was accused of sexual harrasment. The same Bobby Kotick whose continuing presence as CEO led to an employee walkout in protest. "As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players," Spencer said in Xbox's announcement. "We deeply value individual studio cultures. We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand-in-hand with treating every person with dignity and respect. We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment. We're looking forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams across Activision Blizzard." Probably good that Microsoft last week announced plans to "review the effectiveness of the company's sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies and practices". They're buying a company in need of other help to improve working conditions too. Some Activision Blizzard QA workers have been on strike for seven weeks to protest layoffs at Call Of Duty: Warzone developers Raven.
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To perform an ollie is to commune with gods. Or maybe just look cool. OlliOlli World is shaping up to be a good-spirited renovation of the 2D skateboarding series that has traditionally been quite punishing. This one's got a flashy third dimension, moon-faced cartoon characters, and a plucky story to match. We're told of Skate Godz who once appointed a human representative on earth. But she's about to retire and needs a prodigy to step forward to fill her Vans. The player is that potential new conduit between holy half-pipers and huma
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. The edgy animated adaptation of Valve's silly wizard war MOBA Dota 2 has returned, with the full second season of Dota: Dragon's Blood now live on Netflix. Dragon Knight, Mirana, and their friends return to fight Terrorblade, having committed the classic Dota mistake of letting a late-game carry farm uninterrupted until they're stacked. Should've kept ganking him before he ate all those dragons, n
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Something is missing from Nobody Saves The World, a new action RPG from Guacamelee devs DrinkBox Studios. This is a dungeon-crawler that lets you shapeshift into horses, bodybuilders, and ghosts in your bid to save the world, but it's a quest blighted not only by a Calamity, but by repetition too. Charming characters and clever mighty-morphin' combat succumb to numbers, which reduces what could've been a rich world to a rather hollow dash between dungeons. In Nobody Saves The World, said world has succumbed to The Calamity, a dark force that's mutated its residents into blubbery eyes that spit spikes and sentient puddles of acid. A great mage called Nostramagus usually keeps these at bay but, in classic fashion, he's gone missing. In you step as Nobody, a deflated Michelin Man who inherits Nostramagus' powers and can shapeshift into various forms as a result. With this great power, you must dungeon-crawl in a bid to gather the scattered pieces of a magical gemstone capable of burning away the blight, and most importantly, saving the world. And what a lovely world it is, despite the rampaging mutant issue. You've got little towns and thick jungles and arid deserts all rendered in this gorgeous, cartoony aesthetic. The game has a playful charm about it, with bizarre characters that spit funny quips. One of my favourites is Randy the Red, a spiteful wizard who believes he's Nostramagus' true heir, not some little nobody like you. Colourful portraits bring his character to life: jealousy is bulging eyes, a gaping jaw, and text that rattles. The way he switches between frantic to conniving is magnificent. It's a shame, then, that these interactions are few and that many of the game's characters rarely have much of value to say. Nobody Saves The World knows it's riffing off classics like The Legend Of Zelda, and while this self-awareness leads to some fun references, the game traps itself in a sort of nonchalance. The world may be beautiful, but it is simply "The World", a generic fantasy realm with little history. NPCs you encounter may be quirky, but conversations are brief; meta lines to make you chuckle or basic fetch quests. "You look strong, can you help me defeat some monsters?". A shady magician wanted to procure some fake knives from a shop, so he tasked me with duping the shopkeeper inside. I was to enter the shop on four separate occasions, disguising myself as four different humans using my shapeshifting ability, and purchase a fake knife each time. I did so, hoping to find out a bit more about this fella now that I'd secured him his tools. Nah, nothing. Just a well done. He's since disappeared, so that's why I've used this image of a random mutant. Aid almost any NPC and they'll hit you with a snappy thanks... and that's your lot. Sure, you earn some EXP, but this recompense feels hollow without meaningful stories. The game commits so hard to its referential humour that it's often overly dismissive. The joke is that you're playing an RPG, but the punchline grows weaker as you progress. Is this a world you want to save? Well, I guess so. One thing the game gets – mos
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There’s pedigree and resources behind this offshoot from the world’s biggest FPS Can I get a ‘woop woop’, or at least a ‘wololo’, for the spin-off strategy game? The Ensemble Studios swansong that was Halo Wars, an RTS so streamlined it was aerodynamic. The ballistic ballet of Gears Tactics, which piled extra biceps atop XCOM’s shoulders. Even when money has moved through the membrane in the opposite direction, it has resulted in projects that were - let’s not overstate this - endearingly experimental. Can I get an understanding nod for Command & Conquer: Renegade? The strangeness of Crossfire: Legion’s situation is that you might not recognise it as a spin-off at all. That’s because the series is a big old blind spot for the Western world. Crossfire is an enormously successful Korean FPS that bears more than a passing resemblance to Counter-Strike - all right angles, assault weapons, and de_dust2 - but dwarfs even Steam’s most popular game for player numbers. With 690 million participants across 80 countries, it’s the biggest online FPS in the world. In China, where the game is a major cultural force, a coming-of-age television drama about two young Crossfire players has been watched 1.8 billion times. Bridger-what? Geralt of Where? The upshot of all that success is that Crossfire radiates money, and some of it is now funding new games from prestigious Western developers. Remedy is working on a campaign FPS in the classic COD style. And Blackbird Interactive is building an RTS named Legion. “[Crossfire developer] Smilegate always had in the back of their head an idea of making a proper real-time strategy game,” says Robert Wozinski, global brand manager at Koch publishing label Prime Matter. “This beautiful dream had only one problem: they were not experts in a very demanding RTS world. They met Blackbird Interactive, and from that point, things went super fast.” Blackbird is the Canadian outfit to whom Gearbox has entrusted Homeworld 3, and with good reason. Besides its own impressive strategy CV beginning with Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, and a sideline in the deconstruction of both spaceships and capitalism through Hardspace: Shipbreaker, Blackbird also has its roots in Relic Entertainment - sharing founding members with that venerable strategy studio. Don’t expect the grace and bearing of Homeworld from Legion, however. This “classically-inspired” RTS has much more in common with StarCraft - units quickly born, bunched, and hurled at each other in frantic and messy skirmishes. “What makes it stand out are the magic touch of macro strategy,” Wozinski says, “with an army card system, adrenaline-oriented gameplay, and incredibly high pace.” That card system promises a high-level metagame for customising your forces. The idea is that you’ll pick your units, as well as a commander with special abilities, before all the clicky-clicky, enemy-bludgeoning business begins. But most of that was off-limits during my demo, in which I could select between just a couple of commanders from a large roster. Cardina
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How Deep Learning Dynamic Super Resolution looks and runs on RTX graphics cards As if ray tracing and DLSS weren’t big enough bonuses to owning a GeForce RTX graphics card, Nvidia has just dropped another toy in the chest: Deep Learning Dynamic Super Resolution, or DLDSR. It’s essentially an AI-fuelled upgrade to Nvidia’s DSR downsampling tool, aiming to more intelligently render the frames of your games so that they appear more detailed – without the same performance loss that comes with standard DSR. It’s an intriguing new feature that could make some of the best graphics cards even better, and I’ve been trying it out to see if it performs as effectively as Nvidia claims. In games, downsampling is the practice of rendering an image at a higher resolution than the display could normally show, then rescaling that image so it will actually fit the screen’s native resolution. This will tax your GPU harder, in the same way that rendering a native 4K image would take more horsepower than 1080p, but in exchange can make games look noticeably sharper. For years, DSR has been making it easy to enable downsampling at the driver level, and now DLDSR looks to take the next step: using the Tensor cores on RTX cards to provide the same fidelity enhancements, without losing as many frames per second. For reference, I tested DLDSR on a GeForce RTX 3070, alongside an Intel Core i5-11600K and 16GB of RAM. Just to reiterate, you will need an RTX-branded GPU to use DLDSR (unlike DSR, which works on all recent and semi-recent Nvidia GPUs), though since it operates at the driver level it should work with most games out of the box. Out of the .exe. Whatever. Since DLDSR launched in an Nvidia Game Ready Driver with God of War optimisations, I decided to focus my testing on the adventures of ol’ Grumpy Beard himself. And straight away, it confirmed one similarity between DSR and DLDSR: neither are particularly fond of borderless windowed mode. There’s an easy workaround for this, though: once DLDSR is enabled in Nvidia Control Panel, you can set your monitor to the higher render resolution in Windows Display settings. Just as with DSR, this should let you select that target resolution in any in-game settings, even if it’s in borderless mode. In announcing DLDSR, Nvidia cited a Prey comparison that put the new tech on equal performance footing as native rendering, with standard DSR far behind. In God of War, this turned out half true: my 1080p, Ultimate-quality benchmark averaged 62fps on the DLDSR 2.25x setting, which is a considerable drop from my native resolution result of 87fps. The supposedly equivalent DSR 4x setting, however, only produced 48fps, so DLDSR does indeed go easier on the GPU. Visually, too, DLDSR 2.25x not only looks sharper than native, but to my eyes beats out DSR 4x as well. Take a peek at the comparison below: you can see how DSR tidies up details like the shape of the glowing chain links, or the grass just to the right of Kratos’s unkempt jaw. But DLDSR improves this further by adding definition to the Nordic wall pat
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In the online war, supply lines are vital A group of Foxhole players are going on strike to pressure the developers into address issues they feel ruin their chosen role in the war, logistics. The World War 2 sandbox MMO is a persistent battle where weapons, vehicle, and building rely on resources gathered, processed, and delivered by other players, without whom the war machine slows down. Our boy Brendy called logistics "the real heroes" when he rode with them a few years back. But many are unhappy with the current state of their role, so they've formed a union. The Logistics Organisation for General Improv
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Older game called Wordle has benefitted from new viral hit When I first heard about Wordle, I assumed it was an app,
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. More time to plan your castle Diplomacy Is Not An Option looks pleasant and lovely, a bucolic town builder of the sort that would enrapture me for a lost weekend. There's a little combat, but not mu-- Oh, wow. Waitaminute. There's a moment in this trailer where it suddenly looks like one of those adverts for fake mobile games. The hordes. Seemingly thousands of enemies on screen, and the physics to simulate them being hurled about. You can watch said trailer below, relea
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. In partnership with a docudrama
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Make your failings cute for all to see Even if you're not playing smash-hit word puzzle game Worldle, you'll likely have seen grids of green and yellow squares in your social media feeds from people sharing their solutions to the day's puzzle. A good way to share info in an abstract, but not the prettiest. So after some Wordle players started recreating their solutions inside the pretty town-building toy Townscaper, someone went ahead and made a tool which automatically does the work for you. The result, your solution built as a colourful building, for you to view in your browser. The Wordle2Townscaper tool by Tarmo Annus offers several ways to feed in your grid: getting the info from your tweet, letting you paste that grid in directly, or manually by building it with buttons. Then, click the Generate button and it'll whip up a URL with that grid built as a building in Townscaper's browser-based demo. Impressive! Townscaper creator Oskar Stålberg celebrated by sharing his shame over today's puzzle. Annus shared the converter's source code on GitHub so you can expand it too, if you want (and know how). I have a suggestion for you, reader dear. If you build depth onto the building produced by Wordle2Townscaper, you can build something really cute. A huge joy in Townscaper is seeing how its algorithm inteprets blocks, with gardens, balconies, rooftops, beehives, and more popping into existence. So by keeping the same outline but building deeper, you can create something prettier. For example, this is the same basic shape as the one in the header image 🠁up there, but extended back and forwards. Cute, no? I like Townscaper but sometimes struggle with ideas to start a new town. A Wordle solution giving me both a starting point to build on and a constraint to build within is pretty fun! The full version of Townscaper is available from Steam, GOG, and Epic for £4.79/€4.99/$5.99. It's also on Xbox, Switch, and Android and Apple devices.
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I stumbled across a stream of Jump King last week, a platformer that passed me by when released a couple of years ago. "Yes, I want to ruin my life," I thought, and instantly bought it. Now just a few days later, my life ruined, I see jumps and punishing falls everywhere. Is indie developer Daniel Linssen's new free game Tumbledown Drive a Jump King and Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy-inspired platformer in which you are a car hopping up a mountain, or is this another hallucination? If it is what I think it is, Tumbledown Drive challenges you to "drive, jump and honk" up a series of platforms. Holding down jump makes your jump bigger, just as in Jump King, but notably, cars have wheels and kings traditionally do not. You'll need to manage your speed and momentum to make jumps without driving off the far edge of the platform you land on. As per its inspirations, falling doesn't kill you. Death would be too easy. Instead, missing a jump sends you hurtling back down from whence you came. Sometimes you'll get lucky and just fall a little, and sometimes you'll wipe away an agonising amount of progress. Repeat a segment enough times and you'll gain a kind of mastery over it, but you'll also be forced to repeat it so m
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That's a lot of money to get basically nothing Konami's first auction of NFTs concluded over the weekend, with idiots collectively spending the equivalent of £119,000 ($162k) in cryptocurrency to buy 14 database entries pointing to Castlevania artwork, music, and videos that anyone online can see for free. On one hand, thank god it was only £119,000 because if it was the millions that some ugly Twitter avatars have sold for, every other mercenary games company would ramp up their own NFT initiatives. On the other, oh god £119,000 is still so much money for basically nothing. The initial Konami Memorial NFT collection was for 14 Castlevania doodads auctioned on OpenSea. Altogether they sold for 49.1 Etherum, which in real money was roughly £119k ($162k). The single highest price was about £18,500 ($25.5k) for kinda a map of Dracula's castle from the first Castlevania. OpenSea take a cut for their role in sales, of course, but it's still a lot of money to make by selling nothing. People haven't bought the videos and songs and art, only NFTs of them. They've paid for a database to say they have some sort of nebulous connection to the asset, but not any meaningful rights to them. "The purchaser will not, by purchasing the NFT, obtain intellectual property rights (e.g. copyrights, trademark rights) in relation to the data linked to the NFT," Konami's terms explain. "Thus, the purchaser may not use the data linked to the NFT (e.g. reproductions) for commercial purposes." It's the digital equivalent of spending £50 to 'name a star', 'buy land on the Moon', or 'become a Scottish laird'. Well, spending £18,500. So what does your money get you? The next item in the terms inadvertently lays it out. "Konami is not able to preclude the purchaser from spreading on social media the fact that the purchaser purchased the NFT," the company continue, "nor from transferring the NFT to a third party." Don't worry, I didn't spend 18 grand on this; I right-clicked to save it, like anyone can. So someone spent £18k for the right to brag that they spent £18k on a database entry pointing to
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I enjoy the sub-genre of meme about Sad Murder Dads as much as the next gal. Heck, I enjoy those lads themselves. From Kratos in God Of War, to Joel in The Last Of Us, and even less story-focused murder dads like Soldier 76, dudes rock. Successfully rehabilitated and reimagined as father figures struggling to inhabit that role and accept their emotions, in some very good games to boot. Developers who were hot young guns in the 00s are now tired middle-aged dads themselves, and as a result the art they consume and, more to the point, the art they want to make looks radically different. I'm not having a go at that; that's just life, is what that is. But what I'm asking is, what's the mum equivalent? Because I really want to see someone give a mum story the same big budget, fun epic treatment that Kratos got in God Of War. At the same time, I also dread this coming to pass. Mams in games or Disney films are often characterised by their absence (see Horizon Zero Dawn, which is also very good, or even the aforementioned God Of War). They might send you supportive texts, or, more than likely, just be dead. Or, if there are robots, there will be a metaphorical mother AI. When mums are present, a lot of the time they're, you know, fucked up. Take, for example, The Binding Of Isaac, or any number of evil brood-mother monstrosities that turn up as boss fights in yer Dragon Ages or Dark Soulses. The mother archetype is soft and kind and endlessly caring, so doing a grim mirror version of that is enough to make any writer rub their hands together in glee, muttering words like "subversive" under their breath. And I'm not saying this isn't effective either, because there are some great mum subversions out there. Horror films in particularly have a great line in mums struggling to be mums with stuff like Prevenge, The Hole In The Ground, or even The Babadook (and do not even talk to me about Mother!). The Lost Daughter just came out, too, and that isn't even really a horror film (Ed - but it absolutely is). My point is that there's a middle ground in there, which accounts for what I believe is most of real life.
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Apparently today is Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. I'm not sure what that means. Surely the first Monday we're all back at work would be the worst? Or is this the one where we've had a while to realise that the promise of hope in the new year is, once again, a terrible lie? Perhaps. Either way, I refuse to submit. Enjoy the heck out of this Monday. Have your favourite thing for dinner. Watch your favourite movie. Have a bath and put on a cool playlist of songs and sing really loud to annoy your neighbour. Alternatively, play some cool video games! Here are the ones that make
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The speedrunning week has raised £2.5 million for a cancer charity The speedrunning fundraiser festival Awesome Games Done Quick ended in the wee hours on Sunday, with one of its most spectacular runs coming in the final stretch. A speedrunner beat Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice in just over two hours, which frankly is impressive enough to me. More than that, the runner known as "Mitchriz" was blindfolded from start to finish, guided by a combination of memory and feeling-out environments. In two hours! Ludicrious. I enjoyed coming to realise how Mitchriz was playing. The foundation is memorisation, remembering level layouts and placements of enemies and items and such. This is augmented with hearing, picki
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Available through a beta branch on Steam Friday's long-awaited PC launch of God Of War was mostly received by people nodding their heads and muttering "Boy"—the highest praise a heavy heart can offer. A few would-be players, however, found themselves unable to play, with the game throwing up "out of memory" error messages when they really shouldn't be out of memory. The devs have been looking into the issue, and released a potential fix on an opt-in experimental branch on Steam. It sounds like it fixes the problem for some people, but not all. "We've seen a number of people reporting issues with 'Out of Memory' errors on start up when the computer should otherwise have ample memory," the devs explained in a Steam post over the weekend. "In our investigation of these issues we found that the vast majority of these were happening to people with new 12th Gen Intel CPUs with integrated graphics and that disabling the graphics card allowed people to work around the issue." "We've prepared a hot fix to resolve this issue and would love your help in validating the fix if you're willing." If you want to
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Sundays are for buying a Werther's Original from your local petrol station. Before you treat yourself, let's read this week's best writing about games (and game related things). Over on Arstechnica, Kyle Orland wrote about Wordle, IP law, and what happens when a popular game gets cloned. The idea of Wordle isn't very legally protectable, which means it's an inevitability the clones will keep coming. The law shrugs in this case. In other words, it's exceedingly hard to copyright an abstract game mechanic like "guessing five-letter words and giving hints based on correct letters." A game developer can file for a patent on an original gaming idea, a legal process that has been used to strangle video game clones in the past. But getting a patent is a long and arduous process that can fall apart if there's "prior art" predating the idea (or if the mechanic could be considered legally "obvious"). Over on Load-bearing Tomato, Chris 'chhopsky' Pollock answered why items-as-NFTs doesn't enable transfer of assets between games. A game developer takes us through why transferring a skin or an item between two different games is incredibly difficult, essentially. This article is structured really nicely and relatively easy to follow as someone who knows nothing about game dev. Game engines can’t even agree on which way is up, let alone a myriad of other things. You cannot simply ‘export’ and ‘import’, let alone have that happen automatically without knowing the intricate deta
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Games Done Quick draws to a close tomorrow and one of the best runs from the past week was for Stardew Valley. Speedrunner Olenoname finished the farming simulator in 17 minutes by using a mixture of glitches and extreme skill. For a sense of what the expect, the run begins with the player exploiting a bug to bring up the inventory menu during a cutscene, so they can throw away their farming tools. Although arguably it starts even before that, with the protagonist being named after a long string of item codes. You can watch the full run in the Twitch stream below if you skip to around 26:11:00: There are glitch and no-glitch speedrunners, but I tend to prefer the former. It might seem on the face of it that it would be easier to complete a game quickly with exploits, but the exploits speedrunners find tend to be both bizarre and difficult to perform. Also, it's just more fun watching a Stardew Valley player complete the game by, for example, immediately blowing up their garden the second they see it for some reason. Awesome Games Done Quick is a speedrunning marathon organised twice a year, with charity donations taken during the stream. It's been running for nearly a week now and at the time of writing it has raised $2.3 million (around £1.6m). You can see what speedruns a
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Sega has registered a trademark for the term "Sega NFT" with the Japan patent office. Sega indicated in an early 2021 Twitter post that they intended to sell NFTs last summer, although the company's president later said that if the move was seen as "simple money-making, I would like to make a decision not to proceed." As reported by VGC, the trademarks include a "Sega NFT" logo and one for "Seg
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. With more improvements to come GOG, the digital game store, has updated their homepage to provide new ways to search and filter available games. That includes sorting games by price, filtering by genre, and a brand new tags system. You'll find most of the new features down the left handside of the GOG homepage. According to the post announcing the features, it's been desi
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. God Of War is out now, as of Friday at 5pm. This gives PC gamers their first chance to experience 2018's hottest memes, yelling "Boy!" at one another, and writing thinkpieces about videogame dads. It also gives them the chance to satisfyingly throw an axe through a lot of skeletons. The general consensus on God Of War is that it's excellent, and so is its PC port. It currently has overwhelmingl
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Following a wee technical hiccup on my part, ladies and gentlemen, The Weeknd. I'm already thinking ahead to E3 2022 because a friend's planning part of their wedding celebrations for mid-June and I don't know if... how strange to be missing the steadfast, certain, reliability of E3. Anyway. What are you playing this weekend? Here's what we're clicking on. Alice Bee I'm playing Firework, a 2D horror puzzle game that's actually really putting the creeps up me. It's not complex, but its effective. The characters all look like cute little anime dolls or something. This kind of makes it worse. Alice0 I'm mostly out hiking and swimming this weekend, though with leftover time I wish to also do it in the game. I'm playing Fallout 4, ap
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They've detailed plans to expand servers this year and next Popularity, I have learned from American teen television shows, isn't all it's cracked up to be. While Square Enix haven't been bombed by the local mafioso, joined a murderous D&D cult, or discovered their dad is a serial killer and they too have the serial killer genes (thanks, Riverdale!), they did find such overwhelming success with Final Fantasy XIV that they temporarily stopped selling the MMORPG. They couldn't expand servers quickly enough to meet demand, see, leading to login queues and frustration. But now things are settling enough to to start selling it again, and they have big plans to expand servers. Digital sales of Final Fantasy XIV
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I'm not sure I trust the Page of Cups. As imagined by Pamela Colman Smith and A.E. Waite in the 1909 Rider-Waite Tarot, he's a cocky young man in a floral tunic, standing by the seashore hefting a goblet. There's a fish peeking out of the goblet and the Page appears to be gossiping with it, perhaps sharing a joke about the artist, because honestly, what kind of artist paints a guy talking to fish. Or is he thinking about offering us the cup? The set of his jaw is ambiguous. When drawn in an upright position, the Page suggests a flash of inspiration reeled from the mind's ocean, or a dazzling opportunity. In this guise, he's been a good friend to Ami Y. Cai, a game creator and illustrator from Kentucky - though in her first Tarot deck, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law's Shadowscap
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. The tiles they are a-changin’ Puzzle games don't need a plot, or even a theme or setting. When very abstracted ones throw one in it's often an indulgence, or just an excuse to hang the aesthetics around something the devs happen to like. Blink Planets seemed like this at first, and that was fine! A little sexy hexy is all you really need if it's done right, after all. I cannot believe I just said that. Partway through though, I realised Blink Planets isn't just about connecting things with lines of tiles. It really is about the urban planning its setting suggests.
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Sharpness-boosting feature piggybacks on God of War optimisation driver Earlier this week, Nvidia quietly announced a kind of DLSS-adjacent downsampling tech: Deep Learning Dynamic Super Resolution (DLDSR). It aims to improve image sharpness and quality on GeForce RTX graphics cards, using AI to reduce the performance loss of Nvidia’s existing DSR feature, and it’s now available to install and enable through GeForce Game Ready Driver 511.23. This is a beefy driver update in general, adding optimisations for God of War as well as some flashy new filters to enable in GeForce Experience (one of them even has a decent crack at spoofing ray traced lighting effects). But if you own one of the best graphic
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Over the holidays, I decided to treat myself to the gift of funk, and bought myself a neat little acoustic bass. The guitar arrived as promised; I am still waiting on the funk. Any day now. In the meantime, I’ve taught myself the riff for Valley Of The Fallen Star, better known as the Cosmo Canyon theme from Final Fantasy VII. I’m not sure if I can adequately put into words how the original composition of the track makes me feel, but I am certain I’m not the only one.It is sonic nostalgia for a simpler time, where following a talking dog’s weeble uncle to the projection of the cosmos he kept in his loft did nothing to shatter my emotional investment in a story. The tiny, amateur rendition of this track I’ve been sla
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Everybody wants to rule the world With each of us being little more than a kilogram of meaty slop and a stringy nervous system which would fall vaguely into the shape of a human if slapped out on a table, it's fascinating to see how other people interpret the world and its complexities. So hey, look, here's Democracy 4, the latest in the government simulator series from Positech Games. After 15 months in early access, it's now out in full: a detailed model of how Positech think politics works, for you to try to gain and keep power. In short, it's a strategy game where you take on the running of a country, running it however you please, and trying to get: 1) re-elected; 2) un-assassinated. Juggle budgets,
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No more delays for the first batch of handheld PCs Fear not the fate of the Steam Deck, Valve’s ambitious, SteamOS-based handheld gaming PC. While the Deck’s release date was originally planned for sometime in December 2021, a Steam Community update from Valve has assured that they’re on track for the rescheduled launch next month. “First and foremost, we’re on track to ship Steam Deck on time. Global pandemic, supply issues, and shipping issues notwithstanding, it looks like we'll be able to start getting these out the door by the end of February”, so says the post. That should be good news to anyone who’s already paid the £4 reservation fee, though it’s worth remembering that the
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. EGX is returning to Birmingham this year, March 4th-6th, and tickets are on sale now. The three-day event takes the place of EGX Rezzed, which was formerly held in London, and runs from Friday until Sunday. Right now there's little information about what games, panels or other activities are available at the show. The EGX site does outline the health & safety measures being taken in light of Covid-19. EGX returned to physical events last October in London after a Covid-caused hiatus. It was a smaller event than normal, though RPS was there as always to present panels. RPS will be present
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. And Jurassic World Evolution 2 has sold a million copies Frontier's unrevealed Warhammer: Age Of Sigmar RTS has been moved from a planned early 2023 launch, to sometime in the back half of 2023. "This change will further improve the quality and longevity of the game," says Frontier in a trading report that mentions the change in release plans. We know nothing about what Frontier's Age Of Sigmar RTS will be. The game was first mentioned in a similar trading update in May 2020, where it was described as "an immersive and accessible real-time strategy game on both PC and
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Riot Games have outlined their strategy for their next five years, saying they think of themselves "not as a games company but as a gamer’s company." The lengthy post, credited to Riot CEO Nicolo Laurent, outlines not what they specifically intend to make, but the kinds of things they want to make and the internal changes designed to make it happen. The post also acknowledges Riot Games' recent history, including their settlement last month of a gender discrimination lawsuit stretching back to 2018. "As we shared with Rioters, three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what became a reckoning in our industry. We’ve come a very long way since then—in our workplace, our processes, and our leadership—and we’ll continue th
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Lockpicking is a frequently maligned component of many games, but as FPS minigames go I've always had a soft spot for it. I'd rather pick a thousand more locks in Oblivion than hack another Pipemania computer terminal in BioShock. Enter Museum Of Mechanics: Lockpicking, a curated, playable exhibition of lockpicking minigames throughout the history of videogames. It's now available via Steam, with a bunch of new additions since we last wrote about it. The exhibition features recreated lockpicking mechanics from a range of popular games, letting you crack open locks in the style of Deus Ex, Thief, Oblivion and many more. Over the past year, developers Dim Bulb Games have expanded its roster with many more, including Gothic, Mas
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Dan Douglas captures England's oddities in Duke Smoochem 3D The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The diary of Samuel Pepys. The movie Mary Poppins. For years, people have sought to understand English culture and history by consulting such artifacts. When future generations wish to understand what England was like in the early 21st century, they'll simply need to play a Duke Nukem 3D level. Since June 2021, Dan Douglas has been making a DN3D level which captures facets of the real England: town centres, Wetherspoons, Greggs, a sausage roll nativity, Michael Gove dancing, lads, absolute madmen, life under Covid, performative patriotism, the Brexit bus, and so much more. It's astonishing. Douglas started out simple, recreating the office where health secretary Matt Hancock broke Covid restrictions while cheating on his wife. From there, he has recreated more and more aspects and events of English culture, scattering across them one big level now known as Duke Smoochem 3D. He has a great eye for the mundanities as well as the bits which feel surreal even if you witnessed at the time. He's made a Greggs complete with a version of the controversial sauage roll nativity, for one. recreated Greggs' controversial "sausage roll nativity", in Duke Nukem 3D pic.twitter.com/JscDZ0AvqP— Dan Douglas (@dandouglas) December 16, 2021 He's recreated Conversative minister Michael Gove's alleged dance-off and rap battle with BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg. Laura Kuenssberg partying with Michael Gove, in Duke Nukem 3D pic.twitter.com/czBuIBDyA0— Dan Douglas (@dandouglas) October 7, 2021 He's... I'm just going to dr
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Roguelike platformer Spelunky 2 is out now on PC Game Pass. I'm less excited and more angry, actually. This is because it's my nemesis, a game I know is good but I'm absolutely shocking at. Alongside it, the new Left 4 Dead-like co-op shooter The Anacrusis enters early access later today and will be on Game Pass from the start. Can't wait to fall into a pit of spikes with one, then blub about my misfortunes in the other as I pew pew aliens. Spelunky 2 is a tough-as-nails platformer where you descend into a world of procedurally generated biomes. Snakes and moles and pits filled with spikes are out to get you. We have history. It's not a lot, to be fair. Mainly that I've struggled to gain a foothold in the game, in fact, I still don't think I've beaten the first stage. That's after sending out a call to help, with kind RPS folk sending me pointers and advice, like cook turkeys with bombs and always carry something to set off traps. None of it went in, I'm sorry. In his Spelunky 2 review, Graham said he'd "rediscovered the joys of being lost, uncertain, and surprised." You can see his elation through some of his Daily Death posts, where he took on the game's daily challenges. At one stage, his whole life revolved around a jetpack. And now that Spelunky 2 is on Game Pass, perhaps I'll give it another shot, having since uninstalled it from my Steam account in stony silence. I know it's rad and I can't reach the radness, which is largely why I'm venting through this post. Strangely enough, the first Spelunky isn't out on Xbox Game Pass. You can find it over on Steam for £11, though. While Spelunky 2 builds on it in
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Happy 2022! New year, same old us. The Electronic Wireless Show Podcast will make no effort to change or better ourselves; this is our promise to you, listener. For our first episode of the new year we're doing the traditional "what games are we most looking forwards to" episode. Yes, our most anticipated games. There is very little crossover, and lots of orc chat. Before that, though, we're lucky enough to have scored an interview with the "It's me, Blorko" guy. Yes, we have the man who came up with this winter's most fashionable Marvel-based viral tweet, live and on the podcast (I mean, technically he is on the podcast every week but this week we ask him about the Blorko thing for like 20 minutes). You can listen on Spotify, or above, or go straight to Soundcloud where you can download it for later. You can also now discuss the episode on our Discord channel, which has a dedicated room for podcast chat. You can also get the RSS feed here or find it on iTunes, Stitcher or Pocket Casts. Links Both Matthew and Nate are looking forwards to new Hitman 3 levels. Nate is well up for some Homeworld 2, and also Total War: Warhammer III. He gives us a primer on Total War games and why Warhammer is a good place to hop on the franchise. Matthew is interested in the zombs and parkour of Dying Light 2, however many hours long it turns out to be. In classic indie-game liker fashion, I'm really up for Strange Horticulture, and Bear And Breakfast. I'm also interested in any news relating to Haunted Chocolatier or Little Witch In The Woods. Matthew also gives a shout out to A Plague Tale: Requiem, because who could forget dear rat boy, and Ghostwire Toyko (which does look well cool). Recommendations this week are Keigo Higashino's Silent Parade, a cool detective novel, the literary world scandals found in the long-read articles The Spine Collector and A Suspense Novelist's Trail Of Deceptions, and Element Games for all your certified Warhammer resale needs.
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We've been hands on with the upcoming closed beta ahead of its release in March It's been over a decade since a core game in The Settlers series last made landfall on PC, and during that time the real-time management landscape has arguably changed quite a bit. There have been some great building games that have risen up, and even developer Blue Byte (now Ubisoft Dusseldorf)'s own Anno series has staked a powerful claim to the city-building throne. But this incarnation of The Settlers isn't so much about connecting to the series' past as it is about laying down foundations for the future. It's had a slightly rocky road to launch, suffering several delays and refunded pre-orders after being postponed indefinitely back in 2020, but at long last this reboot of the classic city-building conquest-me-do is finally ready to beat down our door and come barrelling in. It's launching in full on March 17th, and I've been hands on with an early version of the upcoming closed beta build that will be running from January 20th-24th. So settle in, folks. Here's how it's shaping up. First things first. The raw, beating production heart of The Settlers is very much intact. As in The Settlers games of yore, if you w
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A yoke controller even I can use I wouldn’t call it a new year’s resolution – mine for 2022 are learning piano and using fewer dashes – but generally I want to try new things with my PC. And one such opportunity recently presented itself via the new Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight yoke controller: I was going to learn how to fly. In Microsoft Flight Simulator, obviously, but this honking great console of handles, buttons, joysticks and levers definitely looked like the right tool for the job. A simple flight stick this is not: there’s a full 180-degree yoke handle, an integrated display that can data like flight times, and a modular (but included as standard) throttle quadrant. The kind of thing you might own if your PC resembles a bisected turbine. I’m clearly not enough of a Planes Guy for this to qualify as a proper review, though I will say that for all of its sim-yness, I appreciated how accessible the VelocityOne Flight can be. It’s got a set of bog-standard Xbox inputs on the yoke itself, so anyone remotely familiar with that particular brand of console gamepad can navigate menus more easily, and almost every individual control is labelled – something that isn’t as common among flight controllers as you might think. It’s easy to set up, too, with the throttle module clicking effortlessly into place and all cables being standard USB or USB-C. I also like how the table clamps drop down from within the console and are tightened from above, so there’s no big low-hanging screws to bang your legs against. Sadly, clever desk clamps weren’t enough to prevent my first Flight Simulator lesson going poorly, as the game (will people get mad if I call it a game?) apparently judged me incapable of looking out a Cessna’s windows. After several minutes of spinning in my tiny pilot’s chair, glaring through every inch of glass but never completing the tutorial’s “look around” objective, I decided to quit out and skip to the tutorials that start in the air. Much like how I’ve been skipping the theory sections in my piano book. This was a
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The trilogy is coming to Game Pass too A new map, a new roguelikelike mode, PC VR, and a new take on one of Hitman's more controversial elements are all coming in Hitman 3's Year 2, developers Io Interactive detailed today. They've just held a stream revealing plans for the second year of support and content, giving a look at the new Elusive Target Arcade mode (this time, the murders are permanent, not ephemeral) and announcing Freelancer mode. That will give Ian Hitman a safe house again, and send him out to take down organisations through chains of missions with randomised elements. Plus, the whole trilogy is coming to Game Pass. Lots of news. Year Two starts on the 20th of January, one year to the day after it first launched. This means its Epic Games Store exclusivity is up, so Hitman 3 will come to Steam. That's not the only new platform. The whole trilogy will be available on Game Pass too, for both PC and Xbox. Newness starts on that day too, with Elusive Target Arcade mode. The original Elusive Targets proved controversial. They were special assassinations which only gave players one chance and were only available for limited periods, when the content calendar said so. The very first Elusive Targets were only available for two days, though Io later extended appearances and re-ran old Targets. While the intent was to make them thrilling events, some players did not like missions being time-gated. So, in Elusive Target Arcade, all the murders are permanent. They're larger too, with a chain of several targets to hit. It will still have an element of time-based risk, mind; if you fail, you'll need to wait a wee while ("you'll have to wait for the next day," said live game director Kevin Goyon). While that's a twist on something old, a new mode is coming later in the year: Freelancer. It'll see Ian Hitman taking down organisations by working his way up the chain with murdermissions, getting closer to the boss. It's inspired by roguelikelikes, with elements of randomisation and persistent progression. Ian can tackle missions in the order of his choice, with the one he chooses
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. On a stretch of futuristic tarmac, something clicked. Yellow quest markers hadn't built my relationships in Cyberpunk 2077. When a job needed doing, then they'd steer me in the right direction. But for those initial sparks of story, my cellphone had been key. Chats and texts buzzed into my brain at all hours. "Hey V", "V, got a minute?", "V!" Characters would get in contact with me, not the other
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Welcome news after Eidos Montreal switched last year In an industry known for grinding workers to dust even when not subjecting them with to insutitional discrimination, good news is always welcome. Armor Games, a browser gaming titan of yore and more recently a conventional PC publisher too, have announced they're switching permanently to a four-day working week of 32 hours. They join a small but growing group of companies in switching, most notably Eidos Montreal who announced last year that they were going t
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Expected to complete the campaign in spring Splendid spaceship-dismantling sim Hardspace: Shipbreaker is winding up to leave early access this spring, with the developers saying the next major update will see the game blast off to a full launch. After entering early access in June 2020, they're getting ready to wrap up the story campaign with its final act. Who knows, maybe we'll actually make enough money from salvaging spaceships to escape our crippling debt? Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a first-person sim starring a heavily indebted salvage worker, stuck dismantling spaceships to pay back The Man. Each ship is a puzzle, a place and an object to study and best learn how to cut it to pieces with your tools without accidentally destroying valuable parts or, y'know, igniting a fuel line. Steve Hogarty's Hardspace: Shipbreaker early access review back in 2020 said it "speaks to the part of your brain that, when sufficiently bored, wants to very carefully take something apart until every bit is laid out neatly in front of you". Sin Vega soon praised it a lot too. The developers, Blackbird Interactive have added plenty since then too: new hazards, new tools, more of the story, and new ship types. The latest big early access update introduced double-decker spaceships with the new Atlas class. Now, they're getting ready to launch it in full. Game director Elliot Hudson explained in last night's announcement that the next major early access update, expected in spring 2022, will be the one which takes it out of early access. It will add the third and final act of the story campaign, enable Ship Saving so you can take a break mid-salvage and return to your work later, and retune progression "so it's less impacted by the randomised salvage value and composition of ships". With the full launch tweaking the first two acts as well as tuning progression, yes, v1.0 will bring a full reset of players' progress. While acknowledging that wipes "can be frustrating", Hudson said "it's an unfortunate necessity when introducing new campaign content". "We hear you, and we wish it could be avoided, but unfortunately it's the nature of this particular beast," he added. "Progression resets are one of the topics where we've been doing a lot of learning and listening, and we hope that this process become
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It's probably more trouble than it's worth to sidestep around comparisons to Mount & Blade with Sands Of Salzaar. It's mostly the structure. Sands Of Salzaar drops you into a world of dynamically warring factions. You can join or compete with them by founding your own, or ignore them to beat up roving bandits, clear out combined dungeon/random encounter sites, and do odd jobs for named NPCs. Some of those figures are powerful, unkillable, and recruitable, although you may have to win them over with favours or gifts. You'll likely do a bit of everything, but mostly you'll be smashing armies into each other in 2D skirmishes. It's no clone, though. While its component parts are familiar, Salzaar does enough of its own thing to win my affection, and its odd but sincere personality shines despite some muddy edges. For one thing, while many side jobs are boilerplate deliveries or fights, a fraction are tiny, one-off micro-stories. There's one about a quarrelling father and son having a blacksmithing contest you must judge philosophically. None of these stories are earth-shaking, and the English translation of its original Simplified Chinese text is generally just fine enough to rule out much artistic impact. They also don't tangibly define your character much, but they do add a degree of personality and flavour. Recruited NPCs have personality traits, and occasionally interact and ask for your opinion. Again, this doesn't really do much materially and is a little undercooked in the grand scheme of things, but it colours in the framework. It's a sign of Salzaar's roots in East Asian RPGs, but its most obvious other i
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The studio co-founded by former Valve writer Chet Faliszek and former Riot designer Kimberly Voll have released The Anacrusis into early access today, a Left 4 Dead-like set in 70s space. Much like its undead predecessor, this is a game where four players team up and pew pew through waves of alien nasties. But it’s not as despairing as its zombified brethren. This is upbeat and colourful and at times, really quite silly. Yes, it's still pretty similar to Left 4 Dead, but is home to a few things that help separate it from its zombified brethren. To test this stuff out, we had a full team of four in our hands-on preview session at the very end of last year – myself, Imogen (RPS in peace), Katharine, and Chet himself, who steered us through encounters with supreme patience. All in all, we sampled a ‘full run’, so a total of four levels, each with lots of, “Oh god, oh no,” moments. And it’s safe to say we had a lot of fun with it. Ed: As someone who’s played a solid amount of Left 4 Dead and Back 4 Blood, I was left fairly impressed by The Anacrusis. Not like wildly blown away or anything, but I certainly had a lot of fun with it. Early on it appears remarkably similar to Left 4 Dead, only with a 70s aesthetic and sci-fi theme. But start digging a little deeper and it definitely reveals its differences. Namely, The Anacrusis structures things more like a rogue-like. Instead of selecting a difficulty and choosing a mission like you would in
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Valorant Episode 4 has kicked off, bringing with it new agent Neon who - like that famous blue hedgehog - goes fast. They're able to sprint and slide around maps at blistering speeds, which might seem at odds with the game's tactical pace, but they fit into the roster nicely. Thing is, you've got to be brave enough to get the most out of their move set, which rewards ballsy plays over careful corner turns. It's safe to say I struggled to break out of my tentative shell, but when I did? Hoo boy, what a thrill. Neon's whole schtick is speed. Inspired by lightning, her Ultimate ability lets her shoot electricity from her fingertips. She can raise walls of static that block your vision and damage anyone who passes through them, a bit like a zappy fast lane. As for grenades, she's got an energy bolt that bounces off surfaces and leaves a concussive splash on the ground. But it's her ability to sprint and slide that separates her from the rest. Valorant rewards co-ordination and patience. It is, for the most part, an FPS where you stalk around corridors at a snail's pace. Needless chat is a distraction. What if you don't hear the enemy's footsteps or miss an important snippet of information from an ally? You are conditioned to take things slowly, methodically. Many of the game's Agents fit this tactical mold. Sure, you've got Jett who can dash and fling herself into the sky, but hers are brief bursts of speeds best used in moderation. That's not to say Neon's sprint shouldn't be used in the same way, it's just... inviting. You can activate it repeatedly as there's barely any cooldown period, and you don't need to buy charges from the shop. So long as you're moving forwards, a quick press of the "hoof it" button (TM) provides more than enough time to cover half a map, or in my case, attempt some cheeky flanks. I suppose you’re wondering how powerful her laser beam feels? Eh, it’s okay. It does the same amount of damage to an enemy no matter where you zap them. Best combined with your sprints and slides, but honestly, not as impactful as some bullets to the head. Cut to me playing with a bunch of influencers and people who are very good at this game. I'm playing Neon and it's my first match and somehow I get four kills in quick succession. My team picks up on this and I revel in having proven myself somewhat to strangers. Then one of them asks, "Did you get to use any of her abilities?", I respond with a "No" and laugh. As per my usual FPS tendencies, I relied heavily on my aim, forgetting that I had the ability to sprint or, well, zap people with my electric fingers. Over time, though, I forced myself out of my comfort zone. Soon I was sprinting out of the gates, gathering info in a flash. I transformed into a scoop machine. Whoosh "one left pyramid". Another time I committed a cardinal sin and left my team to defend the bomb on their lonesome. In one sprint, I flanked around the enemy, got an elimination, died, and yelled incomprehensible words. Whoosh "aahhhffjgjgh". Not helpful in the slightest, but it was exhilarating, to say the least. Right click when you're sprinting and
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Fatherly axe-‘em-up God of War is out on PC this week, and I’ve been dragging my disappointing son around the Nine Realms to see how it copes with the jump from PlayStation to Windows. The answer: pretty well! Like previous marquee Sony port Horizon Zero Dawn, this is a game that already looked lovely on console, and the extra muscle of even a modest PC rig can deliver sizeable boosts to both visual quality and frames-per-second. While largely outsourced by original devs Santa Monica Studio to the Canadian outfit Jetpack Interactive, God of War’s PC version shows an impressive attention to detail. Besides the basics like customisable controls, an uncapped frame rate option and 21:9 ultrawide compatibility, there’s support for both Nvidia DLSS and AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), and you can use either a PlayStation or Xbox controller with on-screen prompts changing to reflect your favoured buttons. And given how much GoW likes its “Press R3 to snap neck” moments, good golly will you be seeing those prompts a lot. General performance seems good too, without any serious dips in battles or the more wide-open Scandi lands. But before we get into that – as well as which visual settings you should change for maximum optimisation – let’s have a refresher on what PC hardware God of War is asking for. God of War PC requirements and performance The official PC specs are nothing if not detailed. They’re also based around God of War’s quality presets, with the Minimum specs supposedly targeting Low quality at 720p/30fps and scaling up to the Ultra specs targeting Ultra quality 4K at 60fps. Slightly confusingly, both the Recommended and High specs both target medium quality, which is actually named ‘Original’ in-game; they both have 1080p in mind, at 30fps and 60fps respectively. Lastly there’s the Performance specs, which go for the High preset, 1440p resolution and 60fps. Exhale. God of War Minimum PC specs OS – Windows 10 (64-bit) CPU – Intel Core i5-2500K / AMD Ryzen 3 1200 GPU – Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 RAM – 8GB Storage – 70GB HDD (SSD recommended) God of War Recommended PC specs OS – Windows 10 (64-bit) CPU – Intel Core i5-6600K / AMD Ryzen 5 2400 G GPU – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB) RAM – 8GB Storage – 70GB SSD God of War High PC specs OS – Windows 10 (64-bit) CPU – Intel Core i7-4770K / AMD Ryzen 7 2700 GPU – Nvidia GTX 1070 RAM – 8GB Storage – 70GB SSD God of War Performance PC specs OS – Windows 10 (64-bit) CPU – Intel Core i7-7700K / AMD Ryzen 7 3700X GPU – Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 RAM – 16GB Storage – 70GB SSD God of War Ultra PC specs OS – Windows 10 (64-bit) CPU – Intel Core i9-9900K / AMD Ryzen 9 3950X GPU – Nvidia RTX 3070 RAM – 16GB Storage – 70GB SSD So, nothing too scary here, and even if there was I reckon these specs are very much on the cautious side for the level of performance they’re apparently aiming for. For instance, my test rig has an RTX 3070 and an Intel Core i5-11600K, neither of which match the Ultra tier’s specs, but that combination was still enough to comfortably average abo
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Some players are unable to, well, play Nine months after its debut on Nintendo Switch, Monster Hunter Rise today launched on PC. Capcom's latest lizard-skinning simulator is a good'un, and what we played of it pre-release seemed like a solid PC port. However, now the game is out in the world, some would-be players are being blocked out by a bug which doesn't let them even start a new save. Still, the majority of folks seem to be quite happily hollowing out dogs to make sli
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The new survival game announced today Watching the trailer for upcoming craft-o-survival game Forever Skies, I now un
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The new survival game announced today Watching the trailer for upcoming craft-o-survival game Forever Skies, I now understand how people who fear the ocean must feel about Subnautica. While I'm at my happiest in water, I know depths and strange sealife give many others the heebie-jeebies. However, heights make me pray for death. So a game about exploring the skies and skyscrapers above the ruins of human civilisation in a customisable airship, ah yes, I would like to die now, thank you very much. Due to enter early access sometime in 2022 (then launch in full a year or so later), Forever Skies is set in the
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After a decade of waiting, sure, take your time Given that we've still only seen scraps of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 after yea
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