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Team Fortress 2's annual Halloween event kicks off with curses, spells, bumper cars

Scream Fortress, Team Fortress 2's annual Halloween-themed event, kicks off today in the free-to-play shooter. The limited-time event sees the return of Scottish wizard Merasmus, which means the addition of funky curses and magic spells, and the introduction of ... bumper cars. In addition to infusing the combat of Team Fortress 2 with the arcane, Valve is tossing in some carnival ride-style fun in the form of playable bumper cars. That new mode ties into some of this year's Scream Fortress achievements. Of course, the requisite handing out of gifts will be a part of Scream Fortress once again, though Valve says it's taking a somewhat different approach to distributing treats. In an attempt to combat the farming of Scream Fortress gifts, Valve says it's giving away one guaranteed gift...
17 Comments

Does Kickstarter hurt your brand? Why this Warhammer 40k game couldn't crowdfund

Games Workshop, the creator of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, prevented Behaviour Games from using Kickstarter to fund the upcoming game Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade. Behaviour's executive producer Miguel Caron told Polygon that the option was discussed briefly, but Games Workshop felt crowdfunding could damage the image of the franchise. Behaviour Interactive wasn't just handed the chance to make a game in the Warhammer 40K universe, they had to fight for the privilege. After they earned the right Caron says that he brought several funding models to the table. The crowdfunding option was quickly brushed aside however because Games Workshop was concerned about the potential for failure. The alternative model that Behaviour and Games Workshop settled on is the current, pre-order...
Cover Story
Issue 01

Oct. 27, 2014

The Plan to Reinvent Call of Duty

Go behind the scenes to see how Sledgehammer Games spent the past three years building Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

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Disney and GoG re-release classic Lucasfilm games, X-Wing was just the beginning

The now-defunct LucasArts created an overwhelming number of classic games, but those titles have been locked up in the vaults for years now. There was some hope that the games would be made available again when Double Fine announced an updated version of Grim Fandango at E3, and yesterday it was announced that X-Wing and Tie Fighter would be re-released with some updates on GoG.com. The best news comes today, and with it a flood of classic games. The back-catalog of classic games will be re-released via GoG.Com. You can buy these classic six games through the service right now: Must Read Nostalgia is a powerful drug: How GoG.com is growing beyond a back catalog Star Wars: X-Wing Special Edition Star Wars: TIE Fighter Special Edition Sam & Max Hit the Road ...
9 Comments

Wasteland 2's cloth map reminds us of the glory days of PC gaming

Last week backers of the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter finally began receiving their physical rewards, including a limited edition cloth map. In the fiction of Wasteland 2, it's approximately 100 years since an apocalyptic nuclear event killed off much of humanity. The game takes place in Arizona, where a group known as the Desert Rangers works to protect the innocent from violent clans of bandits, robotic killing machines and the beasts that live in between. The cloth map is based on an old, faded map of Arizona. In the lower left is a Desert Ranger badge and the name Joshua, presumably the ranger who owned this map previously. It's stained with dirt and blood and the whole thing looks like it's been in a soldier's pocket for a generation. Scrawled on the map are key locations from...
38 Comments

Confirmed: Winter is coming in 2014

While it feels like the big release dates for the fall and winter months are all pretty much set in stone, Telltale's Game of Thrones title, called Iron From Ice, has been an unknown. On Friday Telltale PR specialist Laura Perusco definitively stated that the game would be out in 2014. @RatedR2012 No specific release date announced yet, but I can confirm that the season IS premiering later this year. :) — Laura Perusco (@lauraperusco) October 24, 2014 Polygon has reached out to Telltale for comment. Details on the game have been hard to come by. The most recent tidbit came from New York Comic Con where quotes from George R.R. Martin relating to ironwood trees was attached to some marketing material. You can view the painfully short trailer below.
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Scrolls should launch by the end of November, says Mojang

Scrolls, known to some as "Mojang's other game," appears ready to come out of its open beta by the end of November, the studio told Touch Arcade. The timing doesn't have anything to do with Microsoft's acquisition of Mojang — and therefore Scrolls (and a game called Minecraft). That transaction has yet to be completed though both parties expect it to close by the end of the year. But it does resolve a piece of unfinished busness going back to 2011. Scrolls has been in open beta since the late spring. Mojang's Owen Hill didn't supply a specific release date, but said it should arrive by late November. "But we're not going to release it until it's ready, if you know what I mean," he said. Scrolls is a collectible card game in which players assemble decks of combat units, spells and...
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Xbox's boss skeptical Minecraft needs a sequel

Phil Spencer, the man in charge of Xbox, opened up about the company's acquisition of Minecraft and its maker, Mojang, announced last month, saying that he's not sure a sequel to the landmark title is "the thing that makes the most sense. "The community around Minecraft is as strong as any community out there," Spencer told an IGN podcast. "We need to meet the needs and the desires of what the community has before we get permission to go off and do something else." Spencer reminded IGN that the deal, valued at $2.5 billion, has yet to close, though all parties expect it to do so by the end of the year. So Mojang is still very much in charge of the game now, which just launched on PS Vita and is coming to Windows Phone. Still, Spencer says that not everything Microsoft chooses to do...
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Halloween maps return to Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2 is bringing back all five of its original "Scream Fortress" maps in advance of a larger Halloween-themed update. The levels are available in Team Fortress 2 right now. Anyone with the game (it's free to play) can find the Scream Fortress updates by simply booting up the game and joining a multiplayer session. The Halloween-themed maps feature undead enemies and new achievements. Halloween is a big holiday for Team Fortress 2, so who knows what Valve has coming for this year's update. A typically overstated announcement says bringing back the five maps is meant to ease players into whatever terror Scream Fortress 2014 holds. Past editions have involved new events, new maps and, of course, hats.
News
31 Comments

PlayStation Store now offers season passes to TV shows

Today the PlayStation Store will begin offering season passes to TV shows, according to the PlayStation Blog. The feature launches on the PlayStation 3 and via web and mobile, while the option will be available on PlayStation 4, Sony smart TVs and Blu-ray players at a later date. PlayStation 4 users should note that while the option to buy a season isn't available through the user interface on the PS4 itself, they can use the web portal and then play shows through their console. Then fans of Once Upon a Time can receive new episodes the day after they appear on TV. Castle's current season is, however, inexplicably unavailable at this time. Sony is running a sale right now on past seasons of The Walking Dead. Standard definition of the first season is only $10.99, while high...
Review
104 Comments
9.0

Civilization: Beyond Earth review: starstruck

Science is the hub around which Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth turns, but science also thrums within the game's every node, synapse and tendril. This is a very good strategy game. I expect nothing less from a franchise that has dedicated itself to turn-based strategy for more than two decades, from a developer that has consistently proven that it understands the dark mysteries of hooking players; the ineffable secret of "one ... more ... turn." Firaxis' 2010 release, Civilization 5, was not so much a game as a platform upon which Firaxis worked through its own discoveries about potentialities and possibilities. Beyond Earth manifests itself as the latest example of this process. Beyond Earth is an adventure about the future of humanity, an ode to discovery and to enquiry....
13 Comments

Here's Papers, Please creator's next game in action

Lucas Pope's award winning indie game Papers, Please explored the life and struggles of a border control agent. It was heralded by some as a complex game that promoted empathy in the player, and derided by others as poorly executed and tedious. Pope's next game, Return of the Obra Dinn is a dramatic departure. The game, still in development, is played from the perspective of an investigator with the power to go back in time. The setting is 19th century Europe, aboard a ship of the East India Company. This video was created using an early build of the game. "This is a very early playable build," Pope writes in the game files. "There's not much content, and it hasn't been tested." You can read more about Pope's inspiration and goals for Obra Dinn here.
News
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Gabe Newell death threat developer steps down

The developer who tweeted a death threat about Steam boss Gabe Newell has quit team developer Paranautical Activity, offering that he is "really, deeply sorry." Yesterday Mike Maulbeck, co-creator of Paranautical Activity, tweeted, "I am going to kill gabe newell [sic]. He is going to die," after Steam made a posting error for the game. The tweet has since been deleted. He later told Polygon that he "didn't mean" his threat and that it was "driven entirely by the heat of frustration I was feeling at the time." Today, Maulbeck stepped down from the Paranautical Activity team. He posted a blog explaining his decision. The full post is as follows ... "Yesterday, Paranautical Activity released out of steam Early Access, and following some confusion about the state of the game I became...
News
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How Dota, Kickstarter and grandmas factor into Massive Chalice

Massive Chalice director Brad Muir has been playing a lot of Dota.Muir is a member Potato Day, one of the participating teams in the recreational not-for-profit Dota 2 tournament The Rektreational. To say he has been playing a lot of Dota may be an understatement; there are still a handful of matches to go and the tournament itself began on Aug. 1. With the Rektreational and Massive Chalice development ongoing simultaneously, it's not unbelievable that Dota 2 may have some influence on Muir's creation. As a game designer himself, one of the biggest takeaways Muir has taken from his time in Dota is that "it's okay to be fucking hardcore." "If this thing that is basically impenetrable to a normal human can be so popular and suck in so many players, everything we've learned as designers...
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5 Comments

University's athletics program for eSports featured on 'Real Sports' tonight

Tonight's episode of HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel will include a segment on Robert Morris University-Illinois and the eSports program in its athletics department, HBO announced recently. Reported by Real Sports correspondent Soledad O'Brien, the piece will focus on the League of Legends team at Robert Morris University-Illinois and the school's partnership with developer Riot Games. Robert Morris University-Illinois began offering athletic scholarships for competitive gamers earlier this year; for more, check out Polygon's report on the university's eSports program. This will be O'Brien's second eSports story for Real Sports. A year ago, she reported on the League of Legends Season 3 World Championship at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and later defended eSports against...
Deals
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Civilization 5 free on Steam this week, as Beyond Earth launch looms

If you have been thinking about playing Civilization 5, but never quite gotten around to it, now's your chance. Firaxis' strategy epic is available to play for free this week on Steam. The 2K Games offer is timed for the run-up to the launch of Civilization: Beyond Earth at the end of this week. While Civilization 5 is set on Earth and takes place during recorded human history, Beyond Earth is a speculative science fiction game set on an alien planet in the 27th century. Polygon will be running a review for Beyond Earth on Thursday. 2K says the game is now available for pre-load. Meantime, that free Civ 5 Steam offer is open from now until Thursday.
Quality Control
4 Comments

We talk our review of A City Sleeps, the latest from Harmonix, on Quality Control

In each episode of Quality Control, Polygon managing editor Justin McElroy talks to a critic after they review a new game and allows them to add a little bit of extra context and insight. Why did they feel the way they did? What do they wish they had been able to discuss in more depth in their review? Also: Did they play it wrong? In this episode, we talk with Phil Kollar about his review of A City Sleeps which you can find right here. We'd love to know what you think in the comments below! Read the review Subscribe to the podcast (RSS) Subscribe on iTunes Email: qualitycontrol at polygon dot com Music: Goodwill by The Custodian of Records
News
10 Comments

Reviving Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers after 20 years

For longtime game designer and writer Jane Jensen, adventure game series Gabriel Knight has been a defining work.Jensen, under the umbrella of Sierra Entertainment (formerly Sierra On-Line), released the first game in 1993. Called Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, the point-and-click adventure game followed the titular writer as he investigated a series of murders. It was steeped in mystery, murder and the paranormal — just a few themes that Jensen adores. But though the game itself was well-received, spawning two sequels and establishing Jensen as a master of her craft, it was part of a fading genre. By the time Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned launched in 1999, the gaming landscape had changed. Sierra was on its way out. Adventure games, it seemed, were...
Review
7 Comments
6.0

A City Sleeps review: wake up call

A City Sleeps may be Harmonix's most traditional video game ever. Over the 13 years it's existed as a studio, Harmonix has made a name for itself as the industry's leading developer of music games — from the Kinect-only Dance Central series to the instrument simulation of the Rock Band games. Music is still key to A City Sleeps, but unlike those games, it's a background element that you have no control over. That lack of control becomes A City Sleeps' biggest problem. The shoot-em-up genre that serves as its foundation is all about mastery, about perfecting your movements and firing off the exact shots needed to bump up your high score. That feeling is possible here, but I couldn't shake the thought that for the first time in a Harmonix game, the music was holding me back. In A...
News
2 Comments

Riot needs developers for non-League of Legends games (even if they're never released)

Riot Games is in the enviable position of not being forced to release a game after League of Legends, which continues to grow in popularity. They're still working on other projects, however, and a recent job listing offered a few tiny clues about what that could mean. "We’ve mentioned developing games other than League of Legends in the past, but we’re not ready to announce, discuss, or launch any new games yet or anytime soon™. When we are, League of Legends players will be the first to know," an official blog post stated, describing a recent job listing for "R&D Developer." "These future games might be from large teams or smaller teams at Riot, but no matter the size of the team working on them, they will be the types of games that we all love to play." Here's the thing, since...
Deals
59 Comments

10 games are going free this weekend on Steam

Starting Thursday, Oct. 16, Steam will host a free weekend that Valve says is the service's biggest yet; 10 PC games in all will be free during the weekend-long promotion, which would total about $240 if purchased at their regular price. Steam's free weekend kicks off at 10 a.m. PT tomorrow and includes the following titles, which Valve says will also be available for purchase "at tremendous savings." Awesomenauts Blade Symphony Company of Heroes 2 Must Read Blade Symphony: What sound does a successful Kickstarter make? Don't Starve Grid 2 Injustice: Gods Among Us Killing Floor Payday 2 Trine 2 XCOM: Enemy Unknown Details on Steam's "Free Weekend Weekend" are live, as are sales on the 10 games, right here.
News
4 Comments

Ethereal is a game inspired by a father's death

You never truly move past the loss of a loved one. Instead, says developer Thomas Finch, you get over the hurdle.Finch is the creator of a new puzzle platformer called Ethereal, a project that explores death and the life of his father. A Linux, Mac and Windows PC title, the game follows a recently deceased spirit in the afterlife. In order to accept his death and move on, the spirit must revisit seven of his most traumatic memories — his parent's death at age 10, for example, or learning his wife couldn't have children. Scattered throughout these memories are mementos that will teach him to let go of his pain. Each experience is an echo from the life of Finch's father, Mark, who passed away in January of 2008. The game isn't a true retelling of Mark's life, though Finch says its...
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