Xbox Music free streaming ends Dec. 1

Xbox Music users will no longer be able to stream music for free effective Dec. 1, according to Xbox Support. Microsoft currently offers ad-supported free streaming music and radio on the web and Windows 8 devices in 15 countries. Once December rolls around, users on those platforms will have to pay for an Xbox Music Pass, which costs $9.99 per month; Microsoft offers a 30-day trial. This has always been the case on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, where customers have been able to access a 15-song trial before being asked to subscribe. There's no specific explanation as to why Microsoft is discontinuing free streaming; the company said only that "we are focusing Xbox Music to deliver the ultimate music purchase and subscription service experience for our customers." The streaming shutdown...

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....

The Legend of Korra review: elementary

Even in its best moments, The Legend of Korra is a nonstarter. Though it's created by lauded developer Platinum Games, The Legend of Korra lacks the depth of this team's best projects. It doesn't have the intense, combo-heavy combat of games like Bayonetta or Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. But it also doesn't have the style apparent in the studio's simpler brawling efforts, like 2009's MadWorld. Whatever your preconceived notions of a Platinum Games game, The Legend of Korra is not likely to live up to them. The studio's talent and track record aside, I found it adhering more to my expectations for a licensed title based on a cartoon. It's a shallow, short experience full of segments that feel poorly designed and ill-considered — albeit one with just enough fan service to tide over...

Titanfall getting four-player co-op mode, Frontier Defense, in upcoming update

Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment is adding a wave-based co-op mode called Frontier Defense to the game, the studio announced today in a Twitch stream. Frontier Defense is a Horde mode-esque battle that pits four players against increasingly difficult waves of AI enemies, including "a bunch of different enemy types" that are entirely new to Titanfall, said designer Jason McCord during the livestream. Frontier Defense will be playable on all 24 of the game's maps; the livestream consisted of a few rounds on Angel City. A Harvester was drilling for resources on behalf of the Militia, and the players had to defend it from IMC attackers. Players can place turrets around the map to assist them, and switch loadouts and replenish ammo in the middle of a match at loadout crates. And...

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.

Titanfall promises big update news this afternoon

At 1 p.m. ET today, Respawn Entertainment will reveal the "biggest update" so far for Titanfall, the Xbox and PC exclusive that launched back in March. The news will be carried live on Titanfall's official Twitch channel. No other details were made available, including whether this is a free update or premium DLC. Titanfall has seen three DLC updates since its launch more than six months ago, the last one being IMC Rising, which arrived for Windows PC and Xbox One (but not Xbox 360) in September. For more on Titanfall, see Polygon's review, and the overview video below.
Top Games
All Games

Judge rules against shareholders who sued over Battlefield 4 fiasco

A federal judge has ruled against shareholders who claimed that Battlefield 4's disastrous launch and online performance directly harmed Electronic Arts' share price and that senior executives knew the game was unready and made or approved false claims about its quality. Judge Susan Illston of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said statements made by EA chief executive Andrew Wilson and chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen were "puffery," and "a vague statement of corporate optimism," that any company would make of its products, not "materially false and misleading statements," as the original lawsuit alleged. Wilson and Jorgensen were named as defendants in the lawsuit, brought by two shareholders, Ryan Kelly and Louis Mastro, in December 2013. B...

Papers, Please dev launches demo for nautical mystery game

Papers, Please developer Lucas Pope released a playable demo for his upcoming project Return of the Obra Dinn today, available for Windows PC systems. Set in the year 1808, the first-person title tells the story of a merchant ship known as the Obra Dinn, thought to be lost at sea six years earlier. The ship, however, drifts back to port and leaves the player to board the vessel to piece together the events that took place. The game demo is currently available from Pope's personal website. "This is a very early playable build," he warns. "There's not much content and it hasn't been tested. Progress is not saved." We spoke with Pope about his latest project earlier this year. "People are constantly asking for a sequel to Papers, Please," Pope told Polygon. "People think I can make a...

How Rainbow Six: Siege takes inspiration from real life hostage rescues

Ubisoft Montreal is using famous hostage extraction operations as inspiration for its forthcoming online team-based shooter Rainbow Six: Siege. In a blog post today, the developer revealed how team members have been studying recent-history examples of special operations teams saving hostages from terrorists. These include the Lufthansa Flight 181 hijacking (1977), the London Iranian Embassy siege (1980) and the Moscow theater hostage crisis (2002). Rainbow Six: Siege is an asymmetrical shooter in which two teams of five humans (one special ops and one terrorist) face off in a hostage situation. Both teams are seeking to keep an AI hostage alive, while eliminating their enemies. Various tricks are available to each team, such as recon drones and defensive gadgets. Ubisoft said it has...

NBA 2K15 review: technical foul

Many fans of sports video games invent their own backstories and outside-the-lines intrigue for their teams and players. NBA 2K15 will do all of that for you, gloriously. A trade proposal unfolds as an actual conversation with another team executive. An opposing coach, standing outside his locker room after the game, calls you over and compliments your 30-point night — in his own voice. After taking down a division rival, you can talk smack on Twitter to the player who couldn't stop you. When it comes alive, NBA 2K15 is the new frontier of sports video gaming, developing role-playing elements and an online competitive/co-operative mode in ways no other licensed sports title does today. Yet that also exposes the game's greatest weakness: The intoxicating depth of gameplay NBA 2K15...

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...

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...

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...

Shadow of Mordor's new free DLC lets you play as the Dark Lord's finest

The latest downloadable content for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor lets players step into the shoes of the Black Hand, one of Sauron's most fearsome servants, publisher Warner Bros. Interactive announced today. The Power of Shadow DLC bundle, available for free, grants players access to all new Runes of Power — used for weapon and ability upgrades — as well as the playable Black Hand. These Runes include: the One with Nature Rune, which grants immunity to all poisons; the Ascendant Rune, which doubles focus time when executing slow-motion ranged attacks; and the Elven Grace Rune, which halves the damage of enemy hits and increases defense. Developer Monolith Productions' Shadow of Mordor follows Talion, a slain Ranger brought back to life by the wraith of Celebrimbor, the Elven...

Dark Souls PC is making the jump from Games for Windows Live to Steam

The Windows PC version of Dark Souls is finally moving away from Games for Windows Live platform, publisher Bandai Namco Games announced today. Starting next month, players of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition will be able to migrate their games and game progress to Steam. Starting in November, players will have the option to redeem their existing Games for Windows Live tokens on Steam to get a copy of the game at no additional cost. And, for a limited time, players will be able to transfer their characters, save data and achievements. Dates for the character migration period haven't been announced. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition has been a holdout among games that have shifted from Microsoft's Games for Windows Live to Valve's Steamworks. Bandai Namco said earlier this year it...

Steam pulls game after its developer tweets Gabe Newell death threat

The developer of Paranautical Activity, described by its creators as a fast-paced, first-person shooter roguelike, had its game pulled from Valve's Steam service today after its creator posted a death threat to the company's co-founder, Gabe Newell. Mike Maulbeck, creator of Paranautical Activity, says he released the final version of his PC game on Steam today. When it went live, the game's Steam page indicated that the game was still in Early Access, which Maulbeck believed would "greatly cripple sales and confuse customers." "This being a project I spent years of my life on, I was very frustrated by this mistake [Valve] made, so I tweeted a series of tweets calling them incompetent that eventually ended in me saying 'I swear I'm gonna fucking kill gabe' or something," Maulbeck said...

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.

Uber Entertainment cancels Human Resources Kickstarter campaign

Developer Uber Entertainment found success on Kickstarter in 2012 when it crowd-funded real-time strategy game Planetary Annihilation, but was unable to replicate success that with its latest attempt for a game called Human Resources. The Kirkland, Washington-based studio canceled its Kickstarter for Human Resources today after it became clear the game's fundraising campaign wouldn't meet its goal. "Every Kickstarter prediction model is showing that we will come up woefully short of our goal," Uber Entertainment design director John Comes wrote in an update on the Human Resources Kickstarter. "Running a Kickstarter is a full time job for several people. As a small indie, we can't continue spending time and money focusing on a project that won't get funded. We simply don't have the...
Quality Control

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

Half-Life is still amazing, and its best parts are rarely replicated

The first Half-Life title has moved into the realm of the legendary when it comes to video games, and in some ways that sort of canonization has almost diminished how important the game continues to be, and how much we can learn from its design. People seem to think games this good, and arguably this important, just kind of happen; as if game design came from a lightning strike and left just as fast. The video embedded in this post is a great way to break free of that illusion. The reality is that many very smart people decided that Half-Life was going to convey information to the player in some very interesting ways, and allow some interactions and world building that are rare even today. It's shocking how little Half-Life as a series has been exploited; the game hasn't been...
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.