The age-old war of mouse-and-keyboard versus gamepad has claimed yet another casualty. According to Voodoo PC founder Rahul Sood, Microsoft was attempting to bridge the gap between Xbox 360 and PC “many, many months ago” with a larger initiative that would have allowed gamers on both sides of the great divide to bond in the best way possible: by blowing each other into bloody chunks in games like Unreal and Gears of War. So basically, think the now long-deceased Shadowrun revival, but, you know, with matches that actually have other people in them.
So, what happened? This:
“I've heard from reliable sources that during the development they brought together the best console gamers to play mediocre PC gamers at the same game... and guess what happened? They pitted console gamers with their 'console' controller, against PC gamers with their keyboard and mouse,” Sood wrote on his blog.
“The console players got destroyed every time. So much so that it would be embarrassing to the XBOX team in general had Microsoft launched this initiative.”
Sood's not entirely sure if that's the sole reason Microsoft decided to burn its bridge, but it's his best guess. He also speculates that triple-A PC game development could've gotten a new lease on life had the initiative not bitten the big one.
Granted, perhaps tossing all its easily shattered eggs into a first-person shooter-centric basket wasn't such a great idea on Microsoft's part. After all, that's kind of mouse-and-keyboard's bread-and-butter. Even then, though, there's a simple solution: mouse-and-keyboard support for the Xbox 360. That definitely would've evened the playing field. Or how about specific servers/playlists for people with mouse-and-keyboard and those without?
Regardless, we're guessing other complications were the nail in this initiative's coffin, or Microsoft pulled the plug because the idea clashed too much with its current business model. Either way, it's a damn shame.
“The money’s on console,” according to Epic president Mike Capps, but the Unreal Engine developer’s heart is still on the PC, says vice president Mark Rein.
“But I think that’s a myth that we’ve abandoned the PC, it’s just not true. I mean, Bulletstorm is coming out on three platforms; we’ve just been in this situation where our biggest franchise [Gears of War] has been published by a console-holder, and was a very console designed-IP,” Rein told Rock Paper Shotgun.
“I wouldn’t want people to mistake that for our intentions or our interests, because we’re very much into the PC game business… Don’t confuse Gears of War with everything we do. There’s a tendency to think that because we wanna do one thing really, really well and not a hundred things really poorly or just okay that we’re less committed. Bulletstorm is PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 and you’ll see when it comes out, it will be a full-blown, oh-my-god amazing PC game. I wouldn’t draw the comparisons there.”
Epic, of course, used to be a PC kingpin, using the ever-evolving platform to show off its flashiest tech. Despite Rein’s reassuring words, however, recent years have seen a definite shift in Epic’s priorities, with games like Gears of War 2 and low-priced, incredibly high-quality sidescroller Shadow Complex conspicuously absent from the PC.
The reality of the situation, of course, is that between rising development costs and a rapid upsurge in piracy that makes Mount Vesuvius blowing its top look slow and entirely avoidable, triple-A developers cannot live on PC alone. Epic didn’t sell out, so much as it decided not to commit financial suicide. Rein’s definitely right about one thing, though: Bulletstorm looks fantastic. Could it be a bit prettier if it was a PC exclusive? Sure. But we’re not too broken up over the whole thing. Meanwhile, some of the best , most creative indie devs and modders in the business carry the PC-exclusive torch that Epic once bore, so we win no matter how you look at it.
Doom might arguably be the most memorable (or at least the most popular) PC game of all time, and with good reason. Prior to Doom's release, programmers found themselves in the stone age of game development. For the most part, building a game meant starting from scratch and compiling all new code, but like the invention of the wheel, the advent of the game engine forever changed the PC gaming landscape.
Now, we know what you're thinking, and we're well aware that game engines existed prior to Doom's release in 1993; we're even going to cover some. But it was id Software's now legendary first-person shooter that pushed reusable 3D game engines as a viable programming model, and videogame development has never been the same since then.
On the following pages, we look back at all the major PC game engines and what made each one special. As a prerequisite, be sure to check out our history of 3D graphics, which covers video cards from the Voodoo to the GeForce and everything in between. Once you've digested these two features, you're guaranteed to have a new-found respect for gaming on the PC!
With the phrase now appended to read, "I'd rather get a root canal while playing a DRM'ed game [than date/know/look at you]," the time is right to take a stand against DRM -- and also brush the dust off a few classic games in the process. So, if you haven't already, definitely point your web browser in Good Old Games' direction. Especially now that the totally DRM-free service has added Epic's Unreal series to its ranks.
Already, Unreal Gold and Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year Edition are offering their services in exchange for low, low prices, with Unreal II: The Awakening and Unreal Tournament 2004: Editor's Choice Edition arriving "in the coming weeks."
"We know that a lot of gamers have been waiting for new deals," said GOG managing director Adam Oldakowski. "We're sure that the Unreal games will satisfy their lust for alien blood and intense multiplayer action... DRM-free, of course."
GoG also boasts games like Fallout, Gothic, and MDK, for prices ranging from $5.99-$9.99. Now go check it out! Show publishers that you'll be good boys and girls -- even without DRM's far-too-watchful eye looming heavy. If nothing else, it's a much more effective statement than complaining in our comments section (which we still encourage!).