Well, kinda. GameStop has reopened its palace doors to Dawn of War II and – by virtue of its inclusion with the game -- would-be assassin Steam, but THQ’s Saints Row II and 2K’s NBA 2K9 remain conspicuously absent.
Upon its removal from GameStop’s pre-order list, Dawn of War II was thought to be the opening volley in a scuff between storefronts – retail vs. online, to be specific. GameStop employees, however, insisted that the retail giant merely exhausted its pre-order supply for a short period of time.
Certainly, GameStop’s passive refusal to slow its waterfalls of boiling oil for Saints Row II and NBA 2K9 seems a little odd, but re-stocking Dawn of War II – PC gaming’s first heavy-hitter of 2009 – pretty much puts the kibosh on any sort of cold war between GameStop and Steam.
If Dead Rising taught us anything, it’s that donning goofy apparel is par for the course during a potential zombpocalypse. So, of course, as mindless slaves to our media (though not quite “zombies”), we’re thrilled that it’s finally kosher to sport a pair of multi-colored shades while doing our civic, undead-slaughtering duties.
Oh, we guess you also get “true 3D” out of the whole deal or whatever, but it’s not like anyone else benefits from your newfound sight beyond sight. Only you, you self-serving greed-pig.
So here. Here are your dumb means to achieve your selfish ends. After all, it’s not like we’re bitter because the hack won’t work on our PC. No. You’re just a terrible person. Never forget that.
Killing zombies does not get boring. Ever. Complacency – allowing your well-trained, unflinching nerves to put on a nice layer of soft, easily startled flab – is exactly what the zombies are waiting for. However, one can never be too prepared for the decomposed, constantly vomiting end of civilization as we know it, so Valve’s announcement that it intends to continually expand Left 4 Dead is perfectly reasonable.
The game’s first batch of DLC, titled “The Survival Pack,” will slather a new layer of glue onto your computer screen this spring. It’ll include a new multiplayer mode – called Survival, natch – as well as two new campaigns for Versus Mode.
Also hitting shelves this spring is a Critic’s Choice Edition of L4D. Not content to merely repackage the game’s vanilla edition, L4DCCE will lure new players in with a warm mug of glowingly positive review quotes and keep them on the edge of their seats with the aforementioned Survival Pack.
Valve’s also tossing a free SDK in there around the same time, giving you the ability to kill zombies in a box, with a fox, in a house – anywhere really!
Hell, we suppose, if you’re a complete madman, you could even cook up something totally ridiculous like zombie Nazis. But that’d just be loony.
In our opinion, no artistic medium offers a better opportunity to express a PC gamer’s individuality and inappropriate sense of humor like a personal decal “spray” projected on your enemy’s spawn room wall during a multiplayer match. While Valve has made it a mostly painless process to import spray images into their Source engine-based games, the difficulty still lies in creating an original image you can be proud to vandalize next to an enemies corpse. And since no game offers more opportunities to grief friends and enemies than Left 4 Dead, we’re going to show you a flawless technique for creating your own ‘writing on the wall’, pun absolutely intended.
Have the first shots in the long-brewing Digital Distribution vs. Retail Wars been fired? About two weeks ago, GameStop.com abruptly stopped taking pre-orders for THQ’s upcoming Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II, and scrubbed any mention of the game from its site. While no one has been able to get an official reason out of either GameStop or THQ, the speculation is that the conspicuous disappearance is connected to the use of Valve’s Steam service as copy protection—GameStop is probably peeved that in order to install DoW2, gamers will have to install Steam and be presented with an option for fabulous deals on PC games that doesn’t require hauling their asses down to the mall and digging through all the Barbie Horse Adventure games on GameStop’s depressing PC corner shelf.
Further investigation, though, may indicate that this is no coincidence.
Here’s the scoop: Battlefield Heroes, EA’s free-to-play, browser-based FPS, is just about ready for the big show, but needs your help in the make-up room. And get this! So does Relic’s massively anticipated RTS Dawn of War II. Who will you rescue? Now allow us to blow your mind: you can have both.
For Battlefield, you need only follow this link to the dank den of EA’s sleeping monster. Once there, simply create an EA account, fill out a sign-up form and wait. Doing these steps out of order is inadvisable.
Dawn of War II’s beta will officially brighten up PC gamers’ days on January 28th, but if you’d like early access (read: you could be playing it RIGHT NOW), you’ll need a copy of Dawn of War: Soulstorm. Luckily, Soulstorm just so happens to have been marked down to $7.50 on Steam. However, note that this sweet deal (75% off!) is temporary and will expire on January 28th.
Now go! Don’t worry about us; we only want your happiness!
In a talky-torial published at The Escapist, Team Fortress 2 developer Robin Walker hinted at yet another presumably free addition to TF2’s bullet-ridden house of hilarity. And fortunately for those who’ve moved onto grayer pastures, the article touts a “very different” mode currently just out of sniping range.
"A new Payload map is in the works, more community maps are on the way and the team will soon unveil a very different new game mode," read the article.
In addition, Walker confirmed that Valve has all manner of new class designs just waiting to get their shots at the small screen, but wouldn’t give a timeframe for their deployment.
“We've got several new class designs floating around, some of which we like a lot, but right now we're focusing on the broadening of our existing classes through the addition of the unlockables," he said.
Frankly, as long as Valve tosses up a few more “Meet the ____” movies, we’ll be dandy. How about you?
Here at Maximum PC, our goal is to bring you – our tear-jerkingly loyal readers – the world’s finest technology-based news. As you can imagine, this takes a tremendous amount of concentration and, well, you’ve seen the headline. After all, it’s kind of difficult to concentrate on news stories and other such frippery when – one screen away -- a Tank’s attempting to knock our head’s round peg into our torso’s square hole. Convergence, ain’t it grand?
Along with placing a “Web” tab on Steam’s in-game overlay screen, today’s update gives Steam’s five strings a tightening – the results of which you can see here:
Updated game overlay web browser to support generic web browsing, including web sites that use flash
Fixed games list scrolling behavior with pageup/pagedown and mouse wheel
Fixed GTA4 backups not restoring correctly
Fixed several cases where matchmaking would not work in Left 4 Dead in using Cafe accounts
Changed Friends to be enabled for Cafe accounts
Removed 'view invites' dialog on startup, now clicking on a group/user invite toast will take you directly to the Community control page
Fixed guest passes not showing immediately in games list
Fixed case where a user would be told a guest pass had expired after they had bought the full game
Improved Steam Windows Service restart logic in serveral places
PC gaming’s anti-piracy measures seem to be proceeding along a path not unlike the one the games they’re sworn to protect once traveled. First, games (and anti-piracy) were merciless and cruel – prone to punishing players whether they succeeded or tattooed the underside of a tire with their pixilated frog’s surprisingly red guts. But now, times are a changin’. Today’s games are nice and gentle, giving players a gentle pat on the shoulder if they fail, and a big ol’ lie cake if they finish the fight.
Ok, enough with the overwrought metaphor.
See, with companies like Valve – and now Relic – in the picture, anti-piracy measures no longer have to punish gamers. As explained by Dawn of War II lead designer Jonny Ebbert:
“We want to give out steady doses of free downloadable content because we believe in rewarding people who buy the game and the reason we don’t like DRM solutions is because they punish the innocent and they have to jump through all these hoops.”
“We don’t want to do that so we’re going with the approach that Valve pioneered to just reward the people who actually bought the game with cool stuff,” he added. “Free downloadable, regularly accessible stuff that enhances the game and then that’s an incentive for the people who didn’t buy the game to buy it. So we’ve got a really bold, robust strategy for that and we’re going to be revealing more details in about a month, but I think players are going to like it.”
A robust open beta? No DRM? Free goodies on a regular basis? We're only nine days into 2009, and Relic may already have snatched the "Best Developer of 2009" award right out of our hearts. Bravo, guys and gals.
What’s better than seeing the world? Seeing the world during its post-life crisis – at least, according to Valve. And so, during a recent pow-wow with Kotaku, Valve writer Chet Faliszek confirmed that a smattering of new L4D scenarios are currently making sure their crumbling shacks and snaking paths are undead-accessible, as is the long-awaited L4D SDK.
However, as of now, details are sadly few in number. Apparently, Valve wants to “deliver more content you can play at this point,” meaning that the SDK probably won’t arrive with the initial batch of DLC.
On the bright side, the zombpocalypse preparation tool’s first tune-up will add versus mode support to the Dead Air and Death Toll campaigns, allowing you to feast upon your friends’ flesh at all of the game’s fine locales.
The Kotaku-Valve chat was recorded on December 15, so Faliszek’s claim that "We should be announcing that before Christmas, what the DLC is,” was obviously derailed.
"The holidays aren't actually so much delaying it as the press guys--[marketing VP] Doug [Lombardi]'s been taking some time. We'll have an announcement shortly, I don't know exactly when,” he continued. We’re guessing that bit’s still valid.
As is Valve’s wont, the DLC probably won’t cost any money – though arms and legs haven’t been ruled out just yet.
We’ll make sure to let you know when Lombardi and co. finally raise the curtain on Left 4.1 Dead. Pencil us in for “soonish.”