Divinity: Original Sin review: next to godliness

Divinity: Original Sin is a testament to what an experienced developer can do when freed from the demands of a publisher and left to create precisely the game it wants. Belgian developer Larian Studios has been building on its Divinity franchise for over a decade, since 2002's poorly named Divine Divinity. For Original Sin, the team pitched an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, billing it as the Divinity game they had always wanted to make but never had the publisher support for. It's one thing to make lofty promises in a Kickstarter campaign and another thing entirely to actually deliver on them. Divinity: Original Sin delivers in almost every conceivable way. It's a turn-based RPG with all the scope and depth that captured my heart as a kid but with the polish and smart,...

Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas Plague Quarter - Overview Video

Last week, Blizzard kicked off Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas expansion with the introduction of the Arachnid Quarter. We conquered it. This week, we run into some technical difficulties accessing the Plague Quarter, but that's not going to slow us down. Griffin McElroy takes the wheel as we check out three new bosses, a bunch of new cards and some ridiculous hero powers that make us carefully rethink our strategies. We'll return next week to tackle the next wing of Naxxramas. Here's hoping the technical problems are figured out as well!

Homefront: The Revolution devs to move to Deep Silver as Crytek scales back two studios

Crytek's ongoing transition from a game developer to an online publisher is resulting in the effective shutdown of two internal studios, Crytek UK and Crytek USA, the company announced today. Earlier today, Deep Silver parent company Koch Media announced that it is acquiring the Homefront intellectual property from Crytek. The next game in the franchise, Homefront: The Revolution, was originally being developed by Nottingham, U.K.-based Crytek UK. Deep Silver is founding a new studio in Nottingham called Deep Silver Dambuster Studios, which will handle the development of the Homefront series going forward. Once the Homefront acquisition is complete, the members of the Homefront: The Revolution development team will "transfer their talents" to Dambuster Studios and continue working on...

Hatoful Boyfriend will let you date pigeons on Aug. 21

Admit it: you've given serious thought at least once to what it would be like to date a pigeon. On Aug. 21 all your pigeon dating sim dreams will come true when Hatoful Boyfriend launches for Linux, Mac and Windows PC, publisher Devolver Digital announced today. As the last human woman in the world, in Hatoful Boyfriend, you have no choice but to enroll yourself in pigeon high school and throw your search for true love literally to the birds. In this revamped HD version of manga artist Hato Moa's 2011 original, developer Mediatonic — the folks behind Amateur Surgeon and Foul Play — sets players in a world overrun with pigeon hotties just waiting to be courted. The game is available to pre-order through Steam now at 10 percent off its $9.99 price tag. Mediatonic's version also...

Deep Silver buys Homefront from Crytek, moves Homefront: The Revolution to new studio

Deep Silver has acquired the Homefront intellectual property from Crytek, and Homefront: The Revolution is now being developed at a new studio, Deep Silver Dambuster Studios, Deep Silver announced today. "We are thrilled to see another great IP joining the Deep Silver universe," said Dr. Klemens Kundratitz, CEO of Deep Silver parent company Koch Media, in a press release today. "We strongly believe in the potential of Homefront: The Revolution and trust in the new team to continue the path they have been walking in the last years." According to Koch Media, the acquisition includes "the Homefront brand and all coherent assets." The company did not disclose financial terms of the deal. Homefront: The Revolution is the upcoming sequel to 2011's Homefront, which was developed by the...

League of Legends has an adorable new champion, and a reworked veteran

League of Legends developer Riot Games made two champion announcements today, revealing the cute but deadly Gnar and a rework of the songstress Sona. Gnar, a fuzzy yordle born thousands of years ago (but then trapped in ice), comes in two forms: Mini Gnar, in which he is mobile and kites well, but dies quickly, and Mega Gnar, in which he becomes a hulking beast that's "tanky and surprisingly bursty." League of Legends game designer August "gypsylord" Browning wrote on the game's official website that Gnar is "a champion with identifiable strengths and weaknesses in both forms." "Mini Gnar's one of the most mobile champions in the game," Browning said. "He boasts good sustained damage and kites incredibly well, but when he does get caught, he dies fast. On the other hand, Mega Gnar is...

The International Dota 2 tournament watched by more than 20M viewers, Valve says

More than 20 million people tuned in to watch this year's annual Dota 2 championship tournament, The International 4, according to a release from Valve. Valve said that this year's International Dota 2 Championships had "well over 2 million" peak concurrent viewers, more than double last year's peak. This year's International tournament was streamed through online service Twitch in multiple languages, with channels tailored for newcomers and those who preferred to watch "spoiler-free" and at their own pace. The International matches were also viewable in-game and through ESPN. While this year's International Dota 2 Championships saw impressive growth, it lagged behind the most recent League of Legends season finals. One of Dota 2's chief rivals in the genre drew 32 million viewers...

Action Henk gets seven new levels and tricky challenges for 'die-hard players'

The first update for RageSquid's Early Access "toystalgic speedrunning platformer," Action Henk, adds seven levels and harder challenges for players seeking something a little more difficult, the developer announced via Steam. In Action Henk, players must master their momentum to successfully race against a collection of '90s action figures. The new levels, which include "The Drop," "Pro Skater" and "Leap of Faith," range from easy to hard; those seeking more of a challenge can also try for Rainbow Medals, challenges RageSquid say feature "extreme difficulty for the die-hard players." The update brings the game's total level offerings up to 25. Other updates include interface and control tweaks, which you can view in full on Steam. Action Henk is currently available for Linux, Mac...
Game Dev Tips

How to unlock Thanatophobia, the almost impossible trophy, in Rogue Legacy

Thought you had mastered the Castlevania-esque roguelike? Think again.When Rogue Legacy drops on Sony's platforms this week, it'll contain all the features that have already arrived on PCs and Macs via Steam. But there is one brand new trophy that's been added. And it's brutal. The trophy is called "Thanatophobia," or fear of dying. Here's the official description of how to unlock it: "WITHOUT using the Architect, complete the game dying 15 times or less." Fans of Rogue Legacy will recall that the Architect is able to lock down the castle, preventing it from randomly generating each time you die. So you've essentially got 15 lives to make it through a constantly-shifting hellscape. As a point of comparison, my first playthrough on PC required nearly 100 deaths before I made it through...

Why Shadowgate's developers want you dead

Zojoi's Shadowgate remake isn't exactly a rehash of the adventure game released in the late '80s, but it does share one big similarity: death, death and more death.Shadowgate is Zojoi's crowd-funded game set to launch Aug. 21 for Mac and Windows PC, while Android and iOS versions are expected to follow. Like the original game, players are confronted with a series of rooms, a couple of commands and a vague idea of what to do. It's part puzzle game, part patience simulator. If you encounter something unfriendly, or find yourself on a rickety bridge, there's a good chance you'll pay for it with your life — depending on what level you've set your game at. New or shy players can choose a gentler experience, while the game's most advanced setting is happy to deliver a brutal playthrough, cr...

Riot taught me League of Legends (and now I'm teaching you)

Riot taught me League of Legends (and now I'm teaching you) By Alexa Ray Corriea @AlexaRayC Share Tweet League of Legends is a humbling game. I'm sitting in a cool room, the lights just low enough to keep my eyes comfortable as they dart from corner to corner on my monitor. My right wrist is an achy mess, resting on the table to support my fingers, which are always moving. But I'm calm. I'm collected. I'm about to lose my goddamn mind if I can't get away from this tower in time and — crap, it's over. I die and can lean back for a moment, waiting to spawn. League of Legends, as it would turn out, can be addictive. I rush to fill my inventory with new powerful items and health potions as my respawn timer ticks down, and by the time my character pops up at my...
Game Dev Tips

Here's advice for League of Legends first-timers from the people who make it

We asked Riot Games employees — all of whom are required to play the company's game, League of Legends — the best advice they can give first-timers diving into the MOBA. Here's what they said: Davin Pavlas, researcher: "Above all else, League is a team game. Team play is the key to victory: Use wards to give your team vision, move from lane to lane to help each other out on objectives and encourage each other!" Matt Manarino, creative design and writing: "Don't worry about killing champions during your first games, worry about killing minions first. Killing champions is just going to get you killed, because there's a complexity in killing champions. Worry about minions, worry about blasting minions and getting gold because once you have enough gold you can buy items that will help you...

Shadowrun Returns gets a Director's Cut of its expansion this September

A standalone version of Shadowrun Returns expansion Dragonfall is set to launch this September, developer Harebrained Schemes confirms. The new release is being described as a Director's Cut by its creators, although the exact changes that have been made are still yet to be revealed. The studio promises more information to come next month. The good news is, if you already backed the game on Kickstarter or own its currently available expansion, then Dragonfall is yours for free. Shadowrun: Dragonfall, previously known as 'Berlin,' first launched in January for Windows PC, Mac and Linux. A bundled packaged with the original game was also made available. Shadowrun Returns was made by the original tabletop game's creator Jordan Weisman, following a successful Kickstarter campaign that...

Play Settlers of Catan Anytime thanks to HTML 5

Microsoft today released a preview for a free browser-based version of tabletop game Settlers of Catan that will work across any online device with a modern browser regardless of operating system. Catan Anytime was built using the latest HTML 5 web standards with the help of the original creators of Catan, Mayfair Games and Bontom Games as part of Microsoft's Rethink "experiences." The beta version of the game, which is live now, supports four-player games, turn-based asynchronous gameplay with auto-trade and auto-roll features and the ability to keep up-to-date on your game via email. The Microsoft plans to release the full game, which will offer complete parity with the tabletop version, in August during Gamescom, according to Internet Explorer group product manager Justin Garrett. ...

How cows predicted the seedy underbelly of social gaming

It is reasonable to assume that the most ironically successful sardonic game of 2010 is getting a sequel, and probably soon.If you make your way over to the official website for Cow Clicker, a game designed by lecturer, professor, author and game maker Ian Bogost, you'll find at the top of the page a giant image of the iconic cow with a pointer hovering over its midsection, perhaps rebounding from a click. Click on the cow and it turns into the number two with a cow udder dangling from its lower horizontal line. So Cow Clicker 2 is likely inbound. But why? This week marks the fourth anniversary of Cow Clicker, a game designed to poke fun at everything bad about FarmVille, which in turn became a moderate success riding on those same derided principles. I spoke with Bogost earlier...

Nathan Fillion and co-stars will reunite for Firefly Online

Firefly actor Nathan Fillion and his co-stars will reprise their roles once again for the upcoming online strategic role-playing game Firefly Online, io9 reports. The news was announced at San Diego Comic-Con. In Firefly Online, players act as the captain of a ship. They'll hire a crew, lead missions, and trade and compete with other players. The game is set in the Firefly universe created by Joss Whedon for TV in 2002. Although the show is widely regarded as a cult classic, it was canceled after only 11 episodes. Serenity, a film based on the series, was released in 2005. For a teaser look at the game — and a cameo featuring Firefly's best captain — watch the trailer above. Firefly Online was announced at Comic-Con last year. The game is being developed by QMXi and Spark Plug Games...
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