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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
224 Comments

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
11 Comments

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
10 Comments

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
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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
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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
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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...
Video
17 Comments

Here's what it looks like to leave home in Civilization: Beyond Earth

The latest video for Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth shows humanity's path from our home planet to the stars. Press play above to watch the upcoming strategy game's opening cinematic, which follows a woman chosen to forge humanity's extraterrestrial future. Developer Firaxis Games' Civilization: Beyond Earth is scheduled for an Oct. 24 release on Windows PC, with Linux and Mac versions to follow. For more on the game, be sure to read Polygon's impressions of Civilization: Beyond Earth's first 250 turns. You can learn more about those behind it in our interview with the developers that coincided with the game's announcement and in our deep dive during E3 2014.
News
36 Comments

Forget Windows, forget OS X, forget Linux: Humble Bundle is going truly multiplatform

The Humble Bundles offer a variety of interesting games at low prices, with the idea that selling in volume will make up for the lower per-game price.So far they've been correct, with the bundles raising large amounts of money for both the developers involved in the bundle and a rotating selection of charities. Players are also offered a bonus if they pay over the average price, and that bonus usually includes more games or soundtracks. The latest bundle offers something different, however. The games have been ported to a platform-agnostic Humble wrapper that will allow you to play each of the games inside your browser, no matter if you're using a Linux, Mac or Windows-based system. This is a new frontier for Humble, and they're excited about what it means for the future. This isn't...
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6 Comments

Zen Pinball's 'South Park' tables launch this week

Two South Park-themed tables join Zen Studios' pinball lineup this week. South Park: Super Sweet Pinball and South Park: Butters' Very Own Pinball Game will launch on all platforms except Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, Zen announced this morning. That means they'll be on the Zen Pinball or Pinball FX applications for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Mac OS and Windows PC and iOS and Android. Super-Sweet Pinball features characters, scenes and gags from the 17-year-old series, spanning main characters Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman to regulars like Wendy, Jimmy and Timmy, Chef, Mr. Garrsion, Mr. Hankey and ManBearPig. Butters' Very Own Pinball Game adapts three stories involving him over the years: "Marjorine" from season nine, in which Butters infiltrates a...
News
42 Comments

Grim Fandango returns with updated graphics, orchestral score and fan-made controls

A remastered version of Grim Fandango coming to PlayStation and PC platforms next year feels something like a video game miracle. Thanks to developer Double Fine's efforts and some smart people at Disney and LucasArts — people who can make things happen — players will get the opportunity to play Tim Schafer's classic noir adventure game, now lovingly overhauled. At Indiecade, Double Fine and PlayStation brought the PS4 version of the game — it's also coming to PlayStation Vita and Linux, Mac and Windows — putting their remastering efforts on display. The most noticeable difference comes, unsurprisingly, in the game's graphics. Grim Fandango's pre-rendered backgrounds have been uprezzed and textures for real-time 3D models have been wholly recreated. Players can switch between the...
News
13 Comments

A classic adventure series gets its first new story in 15 years

Sierra's much-loved (and sometimes hated) Gabriel Knight series is already on the way to a revival thanks to an upcoming 20th anniversary remake of its first game, Sins of the Father. But what about long-time fans who want something new from the series? Well, we've got good news.This week, as part of a series of content releases leading up to the launch of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers - 20th Anniversary Edition, Phoenix Online Studios released a new Gabriel Knight story available free to everyone in PDF form. Titled "The Temptation," the 15-page story is written by Gabriel Knight's creator, Jane Jensen, and is set six months after the events of 1999's Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned, the last game released in the series. It finds the titular...
News
8 Comments

Hotline Miami 2 pushes into late 2014 or early 2015 for 'final tweaks'

Dennaton Games' mega-violent top-down 2D action game, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, won't be ready until late 2014 or early 2015 to accommodate for "some final tweaks and polish," according to the game's official Twitter account. "Your patience is appreciated and will ultimately be rewarded with everything you hoped for and nothing like what you expected," the Twitter account added. Hotline Miami 2, a sequel to the acclaimed title released in 2012, was initially expected to launch in Q3 of 2014. The game takes place following the events of Hotline Miami and will include a level editor. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is being developed for Linux, Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Windows PC. For more on the game, check out our preview below.
News
20 Comments

Game of Thrones adventure game gets new teaser image: begin the rampant speculation!

We know very little about Telltale's upcoming Game of Thrones adventure game, but a new image released during New York Comic Con may offer a few hints about what we can expect from the game's story. Take a look. Ironwoods are a tree found beyond the wall and in Northern Westeros, and this theme of trees and forests matches up with the previous teaser that was released during PAX Prime. Here's a look, in case you missed it. "House Forrester refers to a minor clan that is mentioned in the fantasy novel series but has yet to make an appearance in HBO's TV series," we explained at the time. "In the George R.R. Martin canon, the Forrester family is sworn to House Glover of Deepwood Motte, an area in the North that has made an appearance in both the books and show." Looks like...
Deals
103 Comments

EA is giving away Dragon Age: Origins for free right now

As part of its "On the House" program for Origin, Electronic Arts is giving away BioWare's 2009 role-playing game Dragon Age: Origins for free. The giveaway applies to the standard Windows PC version of the game only. To get a free copy of Dragon Age: Origins, players will need an Origin account. The promotion runs until Oct. 14. EA is also giving away a copy of PopCap's Bejeweled 3 for Mac and Windows PC until Oct. 28 through Origin. The next game in BioWare's Dragon Age franchise, Dragon Age: Inquisition, will be released on Nov. 18 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in North America.
News
9 Comments

Wrap all your arms around Octodad's free Shorts DLC on Oct. 14

Octodad: Dadliest Catch will receive two new levels in the free Shorts DLC when it launches Oct. 14, developer Young Horses announced today. Shorts, which Young Horses announced back in June, expands the Octodad canon with "Dad Romance," which focuses on the early days of the relationship between Octodad and Scarlet, and "Medical Mess," in which you can find out how their children, Stacy and Tommy, spend their free time. The DLC will be available as a title update for all versions of Octodad — Linux, Mac, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC — and will be accessible from a sub-menu on the title screen. Alongside the Oct. 14 release of Shorts, Young Horses is putting the base game on sale for $7.50 (50 percent off) on the PlayStation Store, Steam and the Humble Store. The sale will run for a...
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