The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 4 review: existential crisis

Everyone you know and love will one day die. It's true for all of us, but Telltale's Walking Dead series — now nearing the end of its second season — has always done an especially powerful job of putting mortality at the forefront. In "Amid the Ruins," Season 2's fourth episode, that tension at the heart of the series is as loud and clear as it's ever been. Every moment of hope is contrasted by a devastating setback. Longtime companions fall before the episode is done, and protagonist Clementine finds herself in increasingly dire situations. This formula has done Telltale well in the past, but something is off in "Amid the Ruins." The normally brilliant characterization and writing of the series is less consistent. The plodding arc of the episode feels as exhausted and hopeless as...

Extremely toxic League of Legends players threatened with instant and permanent bans

Riot Games is taking more severe measures in an effort to reduce "extreme" player toxicity in League of Legends, handing out instant 14-day or permanent bans to players who exhibit the worst behavior in its game. Starting today, Riot began testing a new approach that attempts to curb racist and homophobic language, death threats and unsportsmanlike conduct. Intentional feeding, the act of dying on purpose to give the opposing team an advantage, is specifically mentioned. Dr. Jeffrey Lin, aka "Professor Doctor Lyte," made the announcement on Twitter and explained Riot's plan in more detail in a comment on Reddit. "Today is start of tests where we'll be using a new machine learning approach [plus] Player Support manual reviews to target extreme cases of toxicity," Lin wrote. "Players...

Here's a first-person shooter with a difference

Lovely Planet doesn't look or sound like your average first-person shooter. Gone are the agonized groans of mechanized death, the gore-splattered cobbles, the clanking rattle of chainsaw-against-bone. In their stead, a bouncy, pastel world of psychedelic loon where you jump and float, letting loose with a gun that is more cupid's arrow than autocannon. Developed by QuickTequila, it's due out on Steam on July 31. "Lovely Planet hopes to translate the old formula into a version of its own," according to a QuickTequila statement. "It's the most authentic first person shooter experience; a game of jumping and shooting."

The International Dota 2 championship Grand Finals begin today - here's how to watch

After months of qualifiers, single-match play, and multiple brackets, Valve's The International 4 world championship of Dota 2 ends today with the Grand Finals between Chinese teams ViCi Gaming and Newbee. Unlike the rest of this weekend's main event, the finals are a best of five series — the first team to take three wins takes home first place, and a more than $5 million USD purse. Luckily, there are a number of ways to watch today's match. The TI4 Grand Finals are being broadcast live on ESPN3 — this is available through ESPN's web player if you have a valid cable television subscription, and is also live on any of their many live apps, including the ones on Xbox One and Xbox 360. You can also watch all Dota 2 finals coverage on Twitch, at Even better, if...

Nostalgia is a powerful drug: How is growing beyond a back catalog

Let’s say that you’re trying to play Dungeon Keeper, a game that came out in 1997. That piece of software was designed to work with a version of Windows that is seven generations old. There’s no earthly reason it should play on a modern computer. And yet there are people out there who can make it work. Scattered across the internet, devoted fan bases secret that kind of information away. One team in Poland is constantly reaching out to these communities and soliciting their rarified knowledge, collecting and digesting their expertise so that other gamers don’t have to. All in the quest to automate the process, so that older games can be played just like new ones; with a single click. "If someone is in the community for a game that was released 15 years ago," says Magda Oracz-Chomiuk,...

Goblin Techies return to Dota at The International

The Goblin Techies hero — a mainstay of the original Dota — made its return to Dota 2 at The International 2014, yesterday a surprise selection of Evil Geniuses player Arteezy. Here's a look at the Techie in the selection screen. A special taunt for the Techies was a stretch goal for The International's fund raising campaign, one easily surpassed by record sales of The Compendium, the tournament's virtual playbook. That taunt tipped players off to the idea Techies might return, but they didn't expect to see them revealed in this way. For more on The International, see Polygon's ongoing coverage, tune in on Twitch or ESPN's WatchESPN app, and see our breakdown of how The International's prize pool compares to other payouts in major athletics.
Top Games
  • Watch Dogs
    • Platforms: Win, 360, PS3, Wii U, PS4, Xbox One
    • Publisher: Ubisoft
    • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
    • Release Date: 2014-05-27
  • Destiny
    • Platforms: PS3, 360, PS4, Xbox One
    • Publisher: Activision
    • Developer: Bungie
    • Release Date: 2014-09-09
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
    • Platforms: Mac, Win, iOS, Android
    • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
    • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
    • Release Date: 2014-03-11
  • Dark Souls 2
    • Platforms: PS3, 360, Win
    • Publisher: Namco Bandai
    • Developer: From Software
    • Release Date: 2014-03-11
All Games

Artist got $35K for two weeks of no work, says developer of failed Kickstarter game

The developer of a video game project that raised half a million dollars over Kickstarter and collapsed without delivering it has provided a rough accounting of where the money went. Winterkewl Games llc, said it had $415,000 to use following the 2012 Kickstarter to build Yogventures!, a game based on the popular Yogscast YouTube channel and its personalities. Roughly three-fourths of that, or $300,000 was marked for salaries for developers and artists, one of whom was paid $35,000 for two weeks that produced no work. Kris Vale, of Winterkewl Games, said the unnamed artist accepted a $35,000 contract, then two weeks into it also accepted full-time employment with LucasArts, which was unwilling to let him moonlight for Yogventures! "Because we had worked out a contract that guaranteed...

Quakecon panel: Justice will be served in The Elder Scrolls Online

A Quakecon panel showed off video of new zones coming to The Elder Scrolls Online, and discussed what players may do in them (and to one another), particularly with regard to a "justice system" coming to the game. When that arrives, players will be able to commit crimes — and suffer the consequences for them, of course. This introduces things like stealing and bounties, which have been features of the standard Elder Scrolls RPGs for some time. Additionally, players may now murder NPCs, and when guards arrive to collect the bounty or haul you in, you may find that human players are leading them, adding active world PvP to the mix. This is the video explaining justice to panel-goers at Quakecon 2014: As for new areas, a new Imperial City will be added to the game, unlocked once the...

Dota 2 champs will be paid way more than Super Bowl, World Series winners

There are a number of ways to frame the size of the prize pool for The International — the world championships for Dota 2, taking place this weekend. Perhaps the best is this: The oldest major golf championship is being contested at the same time, for less money. Dota 2's combined prize pool, funded by the sale of a virtual program to fans, is $10,887,235, awarded to 14 teams comprising 5 players each. The winning team at The International 2014 will get $5,008,128. With five players to a side, that's $1,001,625.60 each. The Open Championship (known in the U.S. as the British Open) will divide $9.2 million among 156 entrants. The winner of The British Open — Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is the leader, by six strokes, after three rounds — will claim $1,196,055 for himself. Also...

Civilization 5 mod lets you exploit migrant workers in the 'first true' FIFA World Cup sim

The first "true" FIFA simulation is here, and it's a mod on Steam for Sid Meier's Civilization 5 that allows players to exploit migrant workers in order to host the future FIFA World Cup. "FIFA World Cup Host Resolution" was created by Steam user and artist Steph Caskenette, who built the satirical mod after feeling disappointment about the lack of coverage on the "true excitement" that happened before the tournament: the scandals, the money and the controversies. "There have been dozens of FIFA branded video games," the description reads. "Dozens. Yet every one of these titles ignore the all-powerful FIFA in their gameplay. They don't showcase the scandal, the copious wealth, the controversial remarks. They're just about soccer. And that's not enough. That's not FIFA." In "FIFA...

Destiny producer rediscovers emotional 17-year-old secret on beta's launch

The production team at found a secret message coded into the executable of the original Dungeon Keeper that hasn't seen the light of day in nearly 20 years, much to the delight of Jonty Barnes, Director of Production at Bungie. Barnes stepped away from the Destiny war room late last night, on the first day of his new title's official beta, to tell Polygon how happy he was that someone had finally found it. "That is my message," Barnes confirmed via direct message on Twitter. "17 years ago. I remember writing it but have not seen it since." At 4 a.m. one day in June 1997, Barnes was putting the final touches on the classic Dungeon Keeper, a title on which he shared design credits with Peter Molyneux. Just before the master was sent off, he took a moment to stash these lines in...

QuakeCon sale on Doom, Dishonored, Elder Scrolls and more hits Steam, Green Man Gaming

Digital deals to celebrate the opening of QuakeCon are appearing in retail-land today, with Steam and Green Man Gaming offering Bethesda and id-related bargains. Steam's QuakeCon Bundle 2014 is the big daddy of today's offers, packaging together 20 games and add-ons for $99, including a bevy of all things Dishonored, Doom, Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Wolfenstein. Stand-out individual sales currently include Dishonored, down 75 percent to $4.99; The Elder Scrolls Online cut by 50 percent to $29.99 and Wolfenstein: The New Order down 25 percent to $44.99. Green Man Gaming is selling Wolfenstein: The New Order for $29.99 as well as Doom 3 for $2.49 and Doom 3 BFG Edition for $4.99, among other offers. QuakeCon 2014, the annual gathering of all things Bethesda and id Software, kicks off...

Back to Bed trailer shows the perils of sleepwalking in a world built by Salvador Dali

The launch trailer for indie studio Bedtime Gaming's puzzle adventure game Back to Bed — funded through Kickstarter last spring — shows the perils of sleepwalking in a world that looks like it was built by surrealist painted Salvador Dali. Back to Bed is slated to launch next month through Steam and for iOS and Android devices. In the game, players control a man who has fallen asleep and is now walking with his eyes closed through some very strange dangers. Players must guide him through these walking puzzles and back to his bed, where he will be safe from harm. In February, project manager Klaus Pedersen told Polygon that with financial assistance from Danish game investment company Capnova, Bedtime Gaming was able to set up its own studio and complete work on Back to Bed. The game...

Watch a multiplayer wrestling game that's part 'CatDog,' part Noby Noby Boy

Push Me Pull You, developed by indie studio House House, continues the recent renaissance of local multiplayer titles with a quirky game in which four players — sharing two bodies — wrestle for control of a ball. The four-person team at Melbourne, Australia-based House House released gameplay footage from the alpha version of Push Me Pull You today, showing off a project they've been working on since December. House House debuted the title at That Venus Patrol and Wild Rumpus Party during the 2014 Game Developers Conference. In Push Me Pull You, the two players on each team show up as the two heads of an elongated cylindrical body that can stretch and contract — think of it as CatDog meets Noby Noby Boy. The figures compete on a round court, and attempt to secure possession of a ball...

Rhythm roguelike Crypt of the Necrodancer hits Steam Early Access on July 30

Rhythm-based roguelike indie Crypt of the Necrodancer is coming to Steam Early Access on July 30, developer Ryan Clark of Brace Yourself Games told Polygon today. Crypt of the Necrodancer will be available for Linux, Mac and Windows PC. Players can purchase custom Necrodancer-themed dance pads — the same kind used to demo the game at various shows in the past year — to go with the game, as it is playable with traditionally controllers or in a manner similar to Dance Dance Revolution. In the game, players will explore dungeons in time with the music, taking out enemies with spells and attacks as they journey to recapture the heroine's heart from an evil entity. For more details on how this kind of gameplay works, check out our interview with Clark from PAX East. Additionally, Brace...

Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas expansion arrives July 22

Blizzard has revealed that its popular digital card game Hearthstone will be receiving its first major addition next week. The single-player-focused Curse of Naxxramas expansion will see its first "wing" released next Tuesday, July 22. That wing will be free for the duration of the expansion's launch event. Four further wings will follow on a weekly basis and will cost $6.99 or 700 in-game gold per wing. While the majority of Hearthstone is centered around multiplayer, Curse of Naxxramas will pit players against challenging AI-controlled bosses. Overcoming these enemies will unlock 30 new cards that can then be used in regular play. We'll have video coverage of Curse of Naxxramas here on Polygon next week. In the mean time, you can watch me introducing a fresh Griffin McElroy to H...

Tale of Tales' Sunset ends with more than double its funding goal on Kickstarter

Sunset, Belgian studio Tale of Tales' latest adventure game, ended its Kickstarter campaign today with more than double its initial crowdfunding goal. The project exceeds its initial asking goal of $25,000 and pulled in $67,636 from 2,228 backers. Sunset, announced in May, is currently slated to launch for Linux, Mac and Windows PC in March 2015. The narrative-driven game is set during the early 1970s in the midst of a rebellion in a fictional South American city. Players control Angela Burns, a housekeeper in the penthouse of a wealthy man named Gabriel Ortega. She visits the bachelor pad once a week and gradually becomes involved in a plot against the country's dictator, Generalísimo Ricardo Miraflores. For more details on the project — and why its only stretch goal is a glimpse of...

Yogscast Kickstarter failure is a painful reminder of the risks of crowdfunding

The Yogscast's Yogventures was the first Kickstarter I ever saw that set off alarm bells in my head.If you've never heard of The Yogscast, understand that it is huge. Originally started in 2008, The Yogscast has grown into one of the most popular YouTube groups. Its main channel has over 7 million subscribers, with individual videos regularly receiving over 500,000 views. They're a big deal. They're not a flash in the pan. Building off that success, The Yogscast lent its name and host likenesses to a Kickstarter from Winterkewl Games. The game, titled Yogventures, was to be an open-world sandbox title emphasizing adventure and player control — not unlike the kind of games The Yogscast had become popular from making videos about. The Yogventures Kickstarter quickly raised over $567,000...

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 4 hits next week

The fourth episode of The Walking Dead Season 2, "Amid the Ruins," hits next week, developer Telltale Games announced today. The episode will launch on July 22 for Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and Windows PC and on July 23 for Xbox 360. The iOS version of Episode 4 will hit the following day, July 24. Check out the trailer above (warning: there are spoilers) for a look at what's in store for Clementine and her friends — more zombies and even more pain. Now free of Carver, the group heads north plagued by hunger, violence and conflicts between group members that are always on a slow burn. For more information on the award-winning series' second season, check out our reviews for episodes one, two and three.

She should have never come home: the startup founder supporting Superhot

One of the reasons that the game Superhot will be made is because Martyna Borkowska came home.Borkowska should have stayed in the Netherlands where she was studying abroad. She should have found a high-paying programming job there or somewhere else in Europe. At the very least she should have gone to graduate school. Instead she came back to Lodz, the third largest city in Poland. A city so crippled by urban blight that it’s called Poland’s Detroit. "It has a stigma of being the ugliest city in Poland," she says. "You can see the difference if you go to other cities. They are all nicer." Instead she came back to Lodz to take a chance at founding her own company, called BlueBrick. It's a technology consulting firm that also doubles as an incubator. She came home to become part of a...
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