Circle February 9, 2011 on your calendars, folks. That's the day Valve confirmed it will be releasing Portal 2, the anticipated sequel to the original surprise hit.
The release date leaves plenty of time to drop hints about what you want for Valentine's Day, or vice versa if you're the one buying gifts. It's also somewhat sooner than some had thought, as previously we only knew it was going to ship sometime in 2011.
There's more good news associated with Portal 2. Valve has decided to release the upcoming sequel for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC platforms all on the same day, which leaves only Mac gamers out in the cold, at least for the time being. A version for the Mac is also expected, but probably won't debut on the same date as the other platforms.
After Chell, GlaDOS, and the gang warped out of 2010, Valve’s release schedule would have actually been improved if the PC powerhouse announced Tumbleweeds and Cricket Chirps: The Game. At least it would have been something, as opposed for the heaping helping of nothing we’d resigned ourselves to. But as it turns out, the long, cold, Valve-less winter won’t be sold long, cold, and Valve-less after all. See, out of nowhere, Valve has released a game. It’s called Alien Swarm, and you might already know it from back when it was called, er, Alien Swarm.
“Two years ago Valve hired the talented team behind the popular top down co-op mod Alien Swarm. Since then they have been busy working on the Left 4 Dead Series, and now Portal 2. However, we never forgot about Alien Swarm and the team has spent a lot of time bringing the game to Source in between their contributions to the other Valve projects,” Valve said of the extraterrestrial that unexpectedly burst out of its chest.
The best part? It’s already out. Like, now. And it’s completely free, which makes it a gift, which is awkward, because we didn’t get Valve anything. Still though, grab it if you haven’t already. We haven’t spent an extensive amount of time with it, so we can’t recommend it one way or the other. But really, what do you have to lose?
Is the summer videogame drought getting you down? Well, you know what always makes us feel better for about five minutes and then tremendously worse seconds afterward? Spending money. Lots of money. Fortunately, Steam’s price-slashing “Perils of Summer” sale has you covered on both fronts. After it leaves town on July 4, you’ll probably have plenty of games and little-to-no money.
As with previous seasonal Steam sales, Perils of Summer rolls out a new set of featured deals every day in addition to basically handing you a glass cutter and telling you the structural weak points of a treasure trove of gigantic game bundles. The deals, as per usual, are fantastic. Trine for $4.00, every Overlord game ever for $4.50, and BioShock 2 for $14.99 are just a few of today’s best deals. And don’t even get us started on the bundles. If we have to look at them again, we’ll probably just go ahead and write Valve a check that says “all our money” on it.
Nine more days of this will have our piggy banks squealing for mercy. These things add up over time, you see, and while our resolve to resist temptation is strong now, our armor can only hold up under constant fire for so long. Sharks, drowning, and mild sunburns nothing. This sale is the real peril of summer, and we’re pretty sure Valve is fully aware of that.
There’s an old saying that goes, “If you want anything done, you have to do it yourself.”
Well, it’s a lie. Doing stuff is hard. Don’t believe us? Then here’s an object lesson: E3 happened last week. Now, you have two choices. You could turn the Internet upside-down, scouring hundreds of blogs, RSS feeds, and tweets for every last crumb of the information you so crave, or you could just let us do it for you.
Huh? Oh, hey. Would you look at that? We already did it. And you didn’t even have to lift a finger. Well, okay, you’ll have to lift one, actually, in order to click past the break. That’s still a pretty good deal, though, we think. And hopefully, we’ll have Maximum PC’s brand new telepathy-based “read more” link tech up and running in time for next year’s E3. Fingers crossed. Unless you don’t want to lift them.
“Aperture Science, doing business as Aperture Laboratories LLC, in partnership with Valve today announced the successful completion of an ethics-review-panel-supervised release date restructuring process. Portal 2, the sequel to the ground-breaking title that earned over 30 Game of the Year awards despite missing its original ship date, is now targeted for a 2011 release,” read an email from Valve.
But who cares? Half-Life 3, right? Wrong. Completely wrong, as it turns out.
“To ask questions about how close we all came to dying, or to ask futile questions about the previously announced E3 ***PORTAL-2-THEMED-FOR-GOD'S SAKE*** surprise or, less futilely, to schedule an appointment to attend a Portal 2 screening at the Valve booth during E3, please contact Valve's delegate to the EU's Valve Time Studies Group, Doug Lombardi,” the email concluded.
So there you have it. E3 is Portal 2’s party. Maybe Half-Life will get a chance to hog the spotlight next century year. Perhaps just in time for the Orange Box 2, if those wishes we've been wasting for the past couple years when blowing out our birthday candles finally come true. We can dream, can’t we?
Years and years ago – probably long before any of you were born – Valve was known for this little series called Half-Life. Now, our memories are a bit hazy, but we think its story went something like this. Unfortunately, ever since the release of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, we’ve seen neither hide nor crowbar of Gordon Freeman. However, if a rumor from VG247 is anything to go on, Mr. Freeman could finally be rising and shining next week.
First, though, a little background info: Last week, Valve called off its E3 Portal 2 event and replaced it with a “surprise” that’ll take place sometime during E3. Five seconds later, the entire Internet decided Valve actually meant to say “Half-Life 2: Episode 3.” Except it didn’t. “It isn’t Episode 3,” said Valve head honcho Gabe Newell.
And he wasn’t lying. According to VG247’s source, Valve will instead draw back the curtain on Source Engine 2, which “may” be demonstrated running Half-Life 3. Not Episode 3. Just plain old “oh, so that’s why it took so long” 3.
And even if it’s not Half-Life 3, Source Engine 2 will probably be so beautiful and have such realistic facial movements that you’ll look in the mirror and wish God would’ve spent some more time mo-capping your expressions. So basically, it’s the difference between a win and a total blowout; either way, you come out on top.
You may not be able to name every bone in your own body or all 50 states, but we're willing to bet you're intimately acquainted with each and every component of your bleeding-edge rig. What about other PC gamers, though? How do their PCs stack up? Fortunately for you, Valve's decided to douse that burning question with its latest Steam hardware survey.
First off, Nvidia's still the preferred GPU manufacturer overall at 61%, but Radeon's HD 4800 has sprinted to the head of the pack as the single most popular graphics card. Previously, Nvidia's GeForce 8800 wore that crown.
Meanwhile, the number of users embracing newer tech like Quad Core continues to increase, with 25% of users rocking four CPUs. Fittingly enough, then, Windows XP – tried and true, yes, but also a bit on the old and moldy side -- is looking about ready to give up the ghost. Once the most popular OS, it now sits at a mere 33% – a sharp decline from January's 45%. Windows 7, previously in close second, now takes first with 35%.
Also of note: Mac users – who finally hopped aboard the Steam engine in March – account for 8% of overall users. Which is a great start, obviously, but we're wondering how many of them only showed up for the free cake.
And that's only the tip of the iceberg. If you're some kind of strange PC voyeur, put down those binoculars and click on that link. Valve's survey is ridiculously comprehensive, and well worth a look if you're into that sort of thing.
Hello there, non-existent reader! Yes, that’s right: you don’t exist. After all, you can’t. You’re reading this site, which means your rig’s probably a feral monster – more beast than machine – but this article caught your eye, which implies you don’t own Portal yet. To say that someone of that description exists – why, that’s just silly.
Let’s say, though, that hypothetically you’re a real flesh-and-blood human being. And you don’t own Portal because – we don’t know – you just came out of a coma or something. And you’ve spent every waking second reconnecting with your family or whatever. We guess that’s a valid excuse. If that’s the case, click here, and then give the big red button a press.
And presto! Now you own Portal, and you didn’t have to spend a dime. Wasn’t that easy? Almost as easy as changing the television channel or closing your Internet browser so you can—hey, wait!
Don’t get us wrong: Steam’s a wonderful platform built on a rock-solid foundation of functionality and excellent deals. We wouldn’t trade that for the world. But we’re also incredibly vain people, and we have to admit that – for a while there – we had to imagine other game platforms when we were in bed with Steam. Playing games. On our laptops.
Now, though, everything’s shiny and new again. Valve’s completely overhauled Steam, upping the platform’s geek chic factor with a brand new coat of paint. On top of that, the new Steam brings with it a slew of new features, which Valve has handily outlined here. The long and short of it, however, is this: a revamped friends list, a customizable news feed, a more functional achievement system, and a games library that you don’t need a GPS to navigate.
So then, if you haven’t done it already, make with the downloading. Well, unless you’re a Mac user. Then, according to Valve, you’ll be playing the waiting game for a bit longer. “Soon” is the official word. Let’s be honest, though: you’ve already waited for years. What’s another month or two?
You wouldn’t think of the zombie apocalypse as a time for togetherness and kind regard for your fellow man, but that’s exactly what it is. Think about it: between geographical distance and Francis’ vehement disdain for all things, the casts of Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 would’ve never even given each other the time of day – much less formed the kind of deep, tight-knit connections that can only blossom after you’ve scrubbed caked-on Boomer bile off each other’s backs. Left 4 Dead 2’s “The Passing” DLC, which is fresh out of Valve’s assuredly none-too-sanitary oven, is a perfect demonstration of this.
The DLC brings the original Left 4 Dead cast down to Georgia, where they encounter Left 4 Dead 2’s rag-tag band of survivors. In addition to what we’re sure will be all sorts of sitcom laugh track-worthy shenanigans and quips between the newly united parties, The Passing includes three new maps, the fallen survivor zombie class, the golf club melee weapon, a co-op challenge mode, and more. To top it all off, Valve’s rolling out new weekly game modes called “Mutations” -- like “Chainsaw Massacre,” which we think is pretty self-explanatory.
As with all things wonderful and good and from Valve (yeah, a bit redundant, we know) in this universe, The Passing is completely free. Just fire up Steam and the DLC will be waiting to infect your hard drive. Meanwhile, if you don’t own Left 4 Dead 2 yet and our previous chiding failed to convince you, Valve’s sprinkled the game with wallet bait again – this time dropping its price by 33%. So basically, whatever excuses you had last time… will still work, in all honesty. You’re only hurting yourself, though.