An anonymous reader writes "PC Gamer has put together a huge list of PC games that are due to come out in 2013. They've broken out the lists by genre, and each list is pretty long. It looks like a good starting point for finding the games you want to keep an eye on. Here are some highlights: Star Wars 1313: 'Early glimpses suggest the game will ignore lightsabers and force powers in favor of gadgetry and guns, and the claims are for a more grounded and gritty fiction, instead of the fruity pan-galactic melodrama to which we are accustomed.' The Elder Scrolls Online: 'The real reason to watch The Elder Scrolls Online is the talent behind it – the ex-Mythic developers responsible for the innovative Warhammer: Age of Reckoning and, before that, Dark Age of Camelot. Don't write off the old-school MMO just yet.' Mars: War Logs: 'Say it with me: a cyberpunk RPG set on Mars. That's all you need to know.' Ring Runner: 'Missions challenge you to escape exploding trenches, battle bosses bigger than your screen, race against NPC pilots and engage in spectacular space skirmishes in an engine modeled on the laws of Newtonian physics.' There will also be new installments of Dragon Age, SimCity, Grand Theft Auto, StarCraft, Command & Conquer, and Everquest."
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New submitter RMingin writes "Bruno Ferreira at Tech Report has a number of suggestions that he feels could improve PC gaming. Some are quite thought-provoking. For example: 'When technology advanced [in the '90s], the industry came up with a certification specification to ensure punters didn't miss out—and consequently spent more on better PCs. That spec was called MPC, short for Multimedia Personal Computer. The first version of the MPC spec said, in simple terms: Thy computer shalt be blessed with a sound card and speakers. Thou shalt be provided a CD-ROM drive in which to receive silver discs. Thy processor shalt not be completely crap. At the time, this spec meant a lot—and, to be honest, I think it worked marvelously. We need something like that again. People wanted MPC, everyone sold the better hardware, and everyone was happy. Let the powers that be come up with a new baseline specification. Call it MPC-HD or whatever acronym the marketing Nazgûl want to give it. I'm fine with whatever, as long as it gets the job done.' He also calls for an end to the unintuitive model numbers for GPUs and CPUs, and more consistent driver support."
symbolset writes "The Verge is reporting that the Steam Console we discussed in November is a real thing. Gabe Newell said it will be a locked down platform for the living room. The source is a Kotaku interview with Newell at the Video Game Awards. Newell said, 'Well certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment. If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general-purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that's what some people are really gonna want for their living room. The nice thing about a PC is a lot of different people can try out different solutions, and customers can find the ones that work best for them.'"
New submitter OldTimeRadio writes "Over the last month, both game publishers and gaming communities alike were surprised to find their GameSpy multiplayer support suddenly disabled by GLU Mobile, who purchased GameSpy from IGN this August. Many games, including Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Swat 4, Sniper Elite, Hidden and Dangerous 2, Wings of War, Star Wars: Battlefront are no longer able to find (and in some cases even host) multiplayer games. While games like Neverwinter Nights are still able to directly connect to servers if players know the IP address, less-fortunate gamers expressed outrage on GLU Mobile's 'Powered by GameSpy' Facebook page. In an open letter to their Sniper Elite gaming community today, UK game developer Rebellion explained it was helpless to change the situation: 'A few weeks ago, the online multiplayer servers for Sniper Elite were suddenly switched off by Glu, the third-party service we had been paying to maintain them. This decision by Glu was not taken in consultation with us and was beyond our control. We have been talking to them since to try and get the servers turned back on. We have been informed that in order to do so would cost us tens of thousands of pounds a year — far in excess of how much we were paying previously. We also do not have the option to take the multiplayer to a different provider. Because the game relies on Glu and Gamespy's middleware, the entire multiplayer aspect of the game would have to be redeveloped by us, again, at the cost of many tens of thousands of pounds.""
CowboyNeal writes: "Last week was a big week for gamers, with the release of both Borderlands 2 as well as Torchlight 2. I already shared my thoughts on the former last week, so I got to playing the latter over the weekend. Torchlight 2 is the follow-up to Torchlight, the 2009 point-and-click ARPG created by Runic Games. What's new that the first game didn't have? And, the big question, how does it stack up against Diablo 3? Click the link below to learn my impressions of the game."
RogueyWon writes "In an interview with gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Ubisoft has announced that it will no longer use always-online DRM for its PC games. The much-maligned DRM required players to be online and connected to its servers at all times, even when playing single-player content. This represents a reversal of Ubisoft's long-standing insistence that such DRM was essential if the company were to be profitable in the PC gaming market." The full interview has a number of interesting statements. Ubisoft representatives said the decision was made in June of last year. This was right around the time the internet was in an uproar over the DRM in Driver: San Francisco, which Ubisoft quickly scaled back. Ubisoft stopped short of telling RPS they regretted the always-online DRM, or that it only bothers legitimate customers. (However, in a different interview at Gamasutra, Ubisoft's Chris Early said, "The truth of it, they're more inconvenient to our paying customers, so in listening to our players, we removed them.") They maintain that piracy is a financial problem, and acknowledged that the lack of evidence from them and other publishers has only hurt their argument.
Deathspawner writes "The future of PC gaming is oft-debated, but one thing's for certain: modding has always made it better. With that, wouldn't it make sense for developers to focus more on giving the community the modding tools it needs? Further, couldn't publishers look to modding as a way to increase revenue, by allowing modders to sell their sanctioned creations? Valve already offers robust community options in its Steam platform — and already has payment processing in place. Is this the natural next step for PC gaming?"
EA and BioWare announced today that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be getting a free-to-play option later this year. Players using the F2P option will be able to reach the level cap and play through the full class stories, but their access will be limited for other parts of the game; they will only be able to play a certain number of Warzones (their PvP battlegrounds), Flashpoints (their instanced dungeons), and space missions each week. Access to travel functionality and the game's auction house will be limited as well. F2P players won't be able to participate in Operations, the end-game raids. Subscribers will retain access to all of these features. There will also be cosmetic items sold through the 'Cartel Market' using a virtual currency.
crookedvulture writes "It has been quite a while since Slashdot last covered multi-monitor gaming. A lot has changed in the interim. Monitors prices continue to fall, and improved AMD Eyefinity and Nvidia Surround implementations make creating multi-display arrays incredibly easy. Graphics cards have gotten faster, allowing high-end models to handle the latest games at the ultra-high resolutions that multi-screen setups enable. Developers are doing a better job of supporting those resolutions, too, although HUD placement and single-screen cinematics are still problematic in some titles. Even in the games that do have niggling flaws, the wider perspective of a triple-screen config can offer a more engaging and immersive experience. As stereoscopic 3D implementations fail to catch on, multi-screen setups look like the best upgrade for PC gamers."
Valve has announced a new system called Greenlight, which will allow the gaming community to select which games get chosen for distribution via Steam. Developers will post information about their games — this can be screenshots and videos, or even concepts and potential game mechanics for titles still in development. Once posted, the Steam community will be able to vote on which ones are the best. This will prioritize which games become available on Steam first. Greenlight is Valve's attempt to solve what they call an "intractable problem" — figuring out ahead of time what games players will like. They also hope to facilitate the development of interesting games. "We think it's going to encourage this virtuous development cycle. The problem we had of, how do we encourage somebody when they're not done developing yet? This we think will work. We think a bunch of people will be looking at it going, 'oh my gosh, I want that.'"
Dishonored is an upcoming first-person action-adventure game in a steampunk setting. It's being developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. As the game nears its October 9th release, Jim Rossignol of Rock, Paper, Shotgun got some hands-on time with the game, and was impressed by how it is shaping up: "The level I played saw me overpowering a government official from his laboratory high on a building above the lavish pseudo-London cityscape, and lugging him out to a riverside rendezvous. Initially I went in through the front door, bluntly killing the guards with a knife and sneaking inside. But I could have used all manner of other entrances, and other powers. I could have slipped in undetected by distracting the guards. I could have possessed a rat – zooming into the hapless thing in a manner of bodily possession/transformation reminiscent of forgotten FPS Requiem: Avenging Angel – and then rematerialized once I’d run in through grates and rat holes. I could have possessed an NPC and used the meatsuit to pass through the energy-field barricades. Or I could even have employed a short-ranged teleportation power, blink, and leapt and mantled my way up across the rooftops."
New submitter Splintercat writes "The Humble Indie Bundle V has just been released, featuring Psychonauts, LIMBO, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, and Bastion for Windows, OSX and Linux. Ubuntu software center support has also been added as a method of downloading."
Blizzard announced today that Diablo 3 has finally gotten a release date: May 15th. "After many years of hard work by our development team and months of beta testing by hundreds of thousands of dedicated players around the world, we’re now in the homestretch," said Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. This comes after significant changes to the skill and rune systems in the beta, and news that the PvP system would be delayed so that they could focus on finishing the campaign. The game will be available for Windows and Macs, either via a DVD or as a direct download through Battle.net. For those interested, a skill calculator is available to get a feel for what different abilities do, and many of the skills have videos showing how they work.
adeelarshad82 writes "The 1980s were huge for RPGs. This genre was one of the most defining game forms in the computer gaming world. A recently published article strolls down the memory lane to look back at classic computer games that both defined and extended the definition of the RPG in the 1980s. The roundup includes some obvious ones like Ultima and The Bard's Tale, and others which you may never have heard of."
Today marks the release of Skyrim, the fifth installment of Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls series. The game is set about 200 years after the events of Oblivion, at which point the province of Skyrim is embroiled in a civil war, and dragons roam the skies. Early reviews for the game have been largely complimentary — one at Rock, Paper, Shotgun artfully details all the things the reviewer hasn't yet done, despite playing the game for over 30 hours. Quoting: "I seriously worried Skyrim would, for all its talk of lavishness, depth and dragons, continue the transformation into a trudging, consolified action game filled with clunky acting. It does not. It slams on the brakes then reverses at dangerous speed back into Morrowind territory. Some things are lost (e.g. Persuasion is a sadly watered-down, irregular affair now mostly to do with shopping), many things are changed (e.g. recharging magic items can be done anywhere) and it’s certainly not as weird (no flying or Siltstriders), but it truly reclaims that sense of being in another world, rather than a generic soft-focus, over-familiar fantasyscape." An addendum goes into more detail on the specifics. If you're curious how the game looks in action, Giant Bomb has posted a ~52-minute quick-look video with commentary.
Activision released the latest iteration of their blockbuster first-person shooter franchise yesterday, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, narrowly avoiding a whole year-long gap between this one and the last Call of Duty game. Still, analysts estimated pre-orders at 9 million worldwide, and expect the game to generate another billion dollars in sales, give or take. Reviews for the game range from "amazing" to "slightly less than amazing." Eurogamer sums it up simply: "Modern Warfare 3 is exactly the game you expect. It's conservative in every sense of the word, a paean to military superiority which never ventures far beyond gameplay parameters that were set in stone in 2007. ... With such a well-rehearsed recipe to follow, there's more room here for innovation than there is for improvement. There are plenty who would love to see Call of Duty dragged through the mud for its lack of new ideas, but the game itself is too confidently constructed, too generous with its pleasures, to deserve any lasting vitriol. This is a ferocious and satisfying game that knows exactly what players expect, and delivers on that promise with bullish confidence."
Today marks the launch of RAGE, id Software's post-apocalyptic first-person shooter that's been in development for at least four years. Early response to the game is mixed, but mostly positive. Eurogamer wrote, "This certainly isn't a video game like the ones we're used to playing in 2011, smothered in celebrity voice actors and shoulder-grabbingly intense expository cut-scenes, and varnished by psychologists so we never look in the wrong direction when we're sprinting away from a set-piece. Instead it's something simpler and more old-fashioned. Judged on game design and content, then, it's slightly anachronistic, but as a toy box full of things you can only do in games, RAGE is warm-hearted and refreshing." The review at Opposable Thumbs was much more critical, saying, "None of the game's ideas are thought out or fully explored, so the game feels like a series of dead ends in a world that is hard to care about, in which you play a bland character doing boring things against stock enemies using weak guns." If you'd like to see a look at the actual gameplay, Giant Bomb has a lengthy video with commentary.
New submitter rescendent writes "In an interview with Massively, Illyriad Games developers Ben Adams and James Niesewand predict the death of Flash, the rise of HTML5, and a long-term shift away from installed games. Quoting: 'The major advantages that boxed set or download games have had over browser-based games are local storage and direct access to the graphics and audio engines. Those barriers are being smashed apart by HTML5. ... Especially for MMO game developers, I personally don't believe that developers have any real long-term choice about embarking on this path or not. Ultimately, I believe it's either browser-based or obsolescence. If you don't do it, your competitors will, and they'll be making games that work identically on more device platforms, on more browsers, on more operating systems. It's going to take a very long time to get there, though, but this change has begun now, and we firmly believe that HTML5 is the future.' With Microsoft joining the ranks of Apple and not supporting Flash in Windows 8, there's definitely a risk to Flash. But will browser-based games really replace installed games?"
An anonymous reader writes "After recently running a full-page ad in the WSJ saying, 'PC gaming is not dead,' Razer has now announced a new laptop, the Blade, for the express purpose of playing video games. Its most distinctive feature is what they call the 'Switchblade' UI, which is an area next to the keyboard that has a multi-touch LCD screen and 10 dynamic keys. The screen can receive and display information from games, and the keys can show unique icons particular to the game you're playing. The requisite hardware for a gaming laptop makes it weigh almost seven pounds, but it's less than an inch thick. Another distinctive feature is the price — at $2,800, they price a lot of gamers right out of the market. As the article says, 'It's a gamble, but an exciting one.'"
Over 11 years ago, Deus Ex became one of the most celebrated games of its time, tightly weaving FPS and RPG gameplay together with a rich cyberpunk story. Today, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix launched a new entry to the series, titled Deus Ex: Human Revolution. A launch trailer is available, and early reviews for the game are positive. Opposable Thumbs says, "Fans can take a deep breath: they will get what they want from a Deus Ex game in this release. The story is dense, complete with twists, interesting characters, and far-flung locations." Rock, Paper, Shotgun largely agrees, and both reviews praise the breadth of choices players have in how they accomplish mission objectives. However, they disagree on the quality of the voice acting, and RPS complains of untimely and oddly-designed boss battles. DE:HR's stealth gameplay and hacking minigame receive high marks, as does the game's overall length and replayability.