In videogames, anything can happen. And outside them, well, apparently the same rule applies. It all started when Tim Schafer lamented that he's “actually pitched [Psychonauts 2] to publishers several times and no-one has taken the bait so far." Sounds like the end of the line for the brain-bending, mind-invading cult hit, right? Not if Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson has anything to say about it.
Hey, Rest of the Gaming Industry, want to know how to support a PC game? Take a page (or a piece of mottled parchment or whatever they use around there) from Bethesda's book. For the low, low price of zero arms, legs, or firstborns (or dollars, we guess), you can now nab Skyrim's official mod toolset, a spiffy high resolution texture pack, and the Valve-created “Fall of the Space Core, Vol. 1” mod. It's an incredibly generous gesture, and one that – in hindsight – makes that ugly horse armor business from back in the day seem like some bizarrely specific bad dream. On that note, we're now off to create our first mod: Everything Armor. Mudcrabs, Silt Striders, children – the works. Also, we're bringing back Silt Striders, because there's no greener form of transportation than a giant horrifying bug creature.
Gordon Freeman is a coward. Or at least, he is when I play him. It's those damn poison headcrabs. As soon as they start hissing – shrouded in darkness, probably fresh off the assembly line from some Nightmare Factory – I turn into an orange-and-black blur and beeline for the nearest corner to cry in. When Alyx is around, I push her into the poison headcrab's Terror Lair and hide until she makes the bad things that can kill me in two hits go away. Meanwhile, in real life, I lean away from the screen until my spine feels like it's recently been on the receiving end of a Mortal Kombat Fatality. If you haven't gotten the picture yet, I really, really don't like poison headcrabs.
I love, however, that they exist. Half-Life 2's enemies in general are some of the most memorable I've ever encountered. In fact, I haven't experienced such a visceral reaction to any game enemy since.
In space, no one can hear you scream. Or squeak or squawk or make any sort of sound, for that matter. But man, even space has to make exceptions in cases of exemplary wonderfulness. Example A: Martin Sheen's intoxicating rasp. And hey, look! Seth Green. He, too, is saying things. And, of course, Jennifer Hale's reprising her role as The One True Shep. So that's all well and good and... wait. Freddie Prinze Jr's playing a burly soldier man party member? And Jessica “I licked a PSP and then became an IGN host and am failing to take advantage of the fact that my last name looks a lot like 'robot'” Chobot's in the game? How? Why? We demand explanation! Or a brief appearance by Keith David as Admiral Anderson to make everything all better again. Check out the full and extremely emotionally confusing trailer after the break.
Prototype's main character has a whole slew of off-the-wall abilities in his superpowered arsenal, and now it's time to add another to the list: super-snubbing PC gamers. While console players get to tentacle-stab hearts to their heart's content starting April 24, we're now stuck on the sidelines until July 24 for no apparent reason. Granted, if you've been even the slightest bit conscious for the past few years, this is in no way a surprising slap to PC gamers' faces. Usually, though, this is Ubisoft's shtick, so it's not exactly uplifting to see Activision – the world's biggest videogame publisher – taking a similarly ill-advised approach. Developer Radical Entertainment's promising more details “soon,” though, so maybe a perfectly rational explanation is on the way. You know, like... er, well, ummmm. A time travel experiment gone horribly wrong? Yeah, we've got nothing.
In recent weeks, the Internet's exploded with rumors of a successor to the Xbox 360. Unfortunately, we've got some bad news for the armchair analysts in the audience. Microsoft, you see, has taken to digging through the charred post-explosion Internet wreckage, and it hasn't uncovered a single scrap of truth.
Rejoice, RTS fans and/or people who like good things. Relic's WWII real-time strategy has finally emerged from its bullet-time-like stasis. Well, OK, mostly. THQ hasn't mentioned the heavily rumored Company of Heroes 2 specifically, but a recent investor announcement saw it name-drop the franchise as one of its upcoming heavy hitters. On the downside, however, THQ continues to struggle with financial issues in much the same way someone who's spontaneously combusted in a desert searches for a body of water. The Company of Heroes focus, then, comes as part of a realignment to hone in on proven moneymakers like Saints Row and Warhammer. Which is fine by us, assuming they actually, you know, make money. Otherwise, Company of Heroes' triumphant return looks to be crushingly short-lived.
If DRM was a Disney film character, it'd be Scar from The Lion King. It harms innocent folks, lets the riff-raff pillage and plunder as they please, and somehow magically causes widespread deforestation/drought over the course of a couple months. And yet, it's still king of the copy protection jungle – especially where developers like Ubisoft are concerned. So, what's wrong with the world? Paradox Interactive CEO Fred Wester thinks he knows, but that definitely doesn't mean he likes it.
As is its way, Blizzard has scarcely uttered a peep about its next MMO opus, codenamed “Titan.” The notoriously secretive developer may, however, have provided us with a rather large hint via a job listing on the prowl for someone who can “Work with major consumer brands to facilitate product placement and licensing within the world of Blizzard Entertainment's next-gen MMO that enhances the gameplay experience." You don't often see Orcs, for instance, drop their battle axes to pick up their T-Mobile Sidekicks and respond to a text. So then, odds are that the ads will make sense one way or another, which pretty much narrows the setting down to present or near-future. Well, unless World of Warcraft 2: Electric Boogaloo Fueled by Dew is on the way. But that's a world we'd prefer not to live in. Or think about. Ever again.
What matters most when you game? I imagine we each have a different answer, and that answer may change with time. After many years of playing military shooters, I finally realized this month that I’ve had enough. I’ll certainly go on steering around my little guy as he bobs behind an iron site in a brownish-grayish world, but I won’t miss the genre if it vanishes.