Sections

Interview: Runic’s Max Schaefer on Torchlight and Torchlight II

Friday, 7 January 2011 10:54 GMT By Patrick Garratt

torchlight3

Runic Games is on the up. Having clocked more than 500,000 sales for 2009′s universally-loved indie ation-RPG Torchlight on PC, the developer hit the big leagues this week with a place on CES’s Microsoft keynote stage and confirmation of an XBLA version.

While the console outing has received a complete UI and control overhaul over the PC smash, Runic’s rushing towards a “May” launch of Torchlight II on PC, replete with online co-op, overland areas and more.

We spoke with Runic co-founder Max Schaefer in December on the state of play for PC development in general, the original thinking behind Torchlight as a project and what we can expect from the much-anticipated sequel.

t_insert_1

VG247: You had a real hit with Torchlight. What was it about the game that resonated so well with PC users? Do you think there was just a gap in the market for another point-and-click action RPG at the time?

Max Schaefer: Yeah. I was involved with the whole Diablo series as well, and the motivation was the same then as it was when we started making Torchlight, and that is, like you said, that there’s a gap in the market.

There are a million people out there trying to make WoW-killers, and the standard MMO genre is very, very crowded right now. For whatever reason, there seem to be precious few good action-RPG titles. That was the basis for why we wanted to make Torchlight to begin with.

Also we took a couple of gambles with Torchlight that I think paid off, and that was that people just want a fun game, and don’t so much care if it has multiplayer. Assuming there are people that will play a single-player RPG was the biggest risk.

But also we felt that in PC games in general, the projects have got too big, and too labourious, and they take too long and too much money to make. We figured that we could make a really fun, compelling game and only have to charge $20 for it – no subscription fees, no item sales or anything like that – and that people would be receptive.

I think they were, and I think that’s an approach that we’re going to continue to take as we go forward.

To expand on that, then, the climate at the moment, especially on PC, is seemingly very kind to mid-budget developers delivering games which are not quite so fully-featured but have a lower price and are more easily digestible. Torchlight’s a great example, and Minecraft’s another one. We’re seeing very big numbers for these games. Do you think this is because people have just got tired of spending too much money for games which are too big?

Max Schaefer: Right. And just from a business perspective, when you make these $50 million games, it’s so hard to make your money back that publishers are very conservative about what sort of games they’ll greenlight. So you get a lot of sequels, copycat games and conservative plays. When you come down to a rational budget and a rational team size, you really are freed to take more risk and do more creative things. I think Minecraft is a perfect example. I’m obsessed with Minecraft. I can safely say that Minecraft will slightly delay the shipping of Torchlight 2 [laughs].

It just proves that one guy can make a clever and compelling game. I hope we see more of it, because I think what the PC business really needs right now is more creativity, more responsiveness to customers and more fun, compelling titles. If we’re going to spend $50 million and take four years to make each game, we’re just not going to serve the market.

On the subject of lightweight, easily digestible games, part of Torchlight’s success was almost certainly down to the fact that it would basically run on anything. This is a tactic that Blizzard put to very good use with WoW back in the early days. Is it going to be a similar deal with Torchlight II?

Max Schaefer: Torchlight II runs on the same graphics engine and technology as Torchlight. Now, since there are more people on screen and there’s a little bit more happening, it won’t be identical in its performance, but it’ll be very, very close. Like you say, it really helped World of Warcraft a lot, and I think it has an even more profound effect to a game like Torchlight, for several reasons: firstly, if it runs on old machines, then the market is bigger; also, action-RPGs really benefit from a smooth frame-rate more than other game genres do. By going low-spec, your frame-rate goes up on your good machines as well. If you have a super-high-end gaming rig, Torchlight runs smooth as silk on it, and it just feels good.

Taking a low-tech approach has benefits in performance on any machine, not just running on low-end machines.

Also, not doing bump-maps and shaders and all this sort of stuff, means that we can make stuff faster and it’s easier to iterate. We actually get to spend more time polishing, and more time with the art direction, and more time iterating on the things we’re designing, because the production of the art assets is just a lot easier and faster.

t_insert_2

It seems that taking this approach to development actually keeps you very nimble. Is this the sort of space you want to stay in? You don’t want to move towards higher-end graphics cards?

Max Schaefer: I think we’re definitely going to stay in this area. For one thing, we want to keep a small company; we don’t want to grow to be a thousand people like Blizzard. We don’t want to do five-year projects. We want to stay as a small team that does one thing at a time and focuses on it and does it quickly.

I think pretty much anyone in the game business has a least a small measure of attention deficit disorder, and as developers we certainly do as well. It’s certainly a lot more satisfying to get a project on the shelves in 11 months, as we did with Torchlight, than to spend five years on something that may or may not ever ship.

Talking about the game itself, then. Obviously, it’s built very closely to the Diablo II formula: were you very clear when you set out that you weren’t going to deviate from click, kill, loot, sell, in any way at all?

Max Schaefer: Yeah. I think that was the one area in which we were fairly conservative in our approach. We have a bunch of people on our team that have a proven and long history of making this sort of game. We know that we can do this sort of game well. We know that we can put out a compelling, fun product in this genre. Given that we were going off-board with a lot of the other approaches we were taking, it was the one area that we did want to be conservative and make sure we got right.

And I’m glad we did. Now that we’ve established the Torchlight franchise, and established the development tools and our team, let’s see what we can do with it now, see what other people who are making action-RPGs, who have a more labourious process and have bigger teams, can’t do. We want to be able to go places that maybe Diablo III won’t go. We’re a brand new company, and Torchlight is our only product to date, so we want to see where we can take this now.

As you say, we are more nimble, and we can experiment more easily and get results and feedback faster than other companies.

You touched on Diablo III there. That’s a hugely anticipated game. There were some incredibly flattering remarks about Torchlight being a worthy stop-gap between now and Diablo III. How did you feel about that?

Max Schaefer: We’re very, very pleased to be a Diablo III stop-gap [laughs]. Obviously, we have a lot of respect for Blizzard and what they’re doing with Diablo III, and we really respect the fact that they’re going to take the time to do it right. Obviously, we’ll be day one purchasers of Diablo III, and it’ll delay whatever we’re working on at the time, but at the same time we’re glad we don’t have to do it. They have incredible expectations, and there’s almost no way that they’ll be able to please everybody with what they do. It’s a scale and a level of responsibility and a situation that in some ways we’re glad we’re not in.

t_insert_3

I just wanted to talk about a few of Torchlight’s gameplay elements. One of the things I noticed immediately is that the game’s Normal setting is incredibly easy. Are you planning on adjusting that for the sequel?

Max Schaefer: Yeah. I think we went a little overboard with it. The theory was that we were assuming that with the Normal setting this is a new customer, and not someone who’s spent 400 hours playing Diablo. If you have spent a decade and many hundreds of hours playing Diablo, you’re going to come into Torchlight and be able to breeze right through it on the Normal setting.

There’s a new generation of people out there, a new generation of gamers who came into the fold after the Diablo titles happened, and they may be very used to the WASD, WoW-style of play. We wanted to make sure they didn’t feel incompetent when they fired up Torchlight on Normal mode.

Having said that, I think we maybe did overdo it a bit, and it was a little too easy. We’ll make a minor adjustment for that in Torchlight II.

I’ve been playing through it as the Alchemist, and it’d be really great if there was more in the way of pet and minion control. Do you have anything planned in that regard for the sequel?

Max Schaefer: I don’t think we have anything particularly specific for controlling minions. I think that we could do a better job of honing in their behaviour, so that you don’t feel as though you have to control them as much. That’s the area we’re going to be hitting.

Torchlight II is going to be a little different to Torchlight in that we do have a little more time now to polish. We started Torchlight with blank computers and no software and had a shipping title 11 months later. During that time we had to develop our technology, experiment and figure out an art style, write our development tools, develop an art pipeline and a method of putting things together and everything else, so a lot of time was kind of swallowed up.

We’re hitting the ground running with Torchlight II. We’re using the same tools, the same graphics engine, most of the same staff, and everyone is better at doing this. We can really hit the ground running and spend more time of things like minion behaviour and late game balance, a lot of the things we didn’t have the luxury of doing in Torchlight.

Are you going to be keeping the sidekick mechanic for Torchlight II? That was actually awesome. I thought that was a very neat way of getting round some labourious problems.

Max Schaefer: Absolutely, and we’re going to expand on it considerably. The pets were a universally popular addition, and we want to go a little bit further this time, have more pet options and maybe give them some more abilities as well.

The main addition to Torchlight II, obviously, is online co-op. We’ve seen this is action RPGs before, the one immediately springing to mind being Titan Quest. Are you planning to innovate in any way? Are you planning on giving something new, or are we going to see something tried and tested but in the Torchlight mould?

Max Schaefer: I’d say that from a gameplay perspective, our goals are relatively modest for this. Basically, we just wanted you to be able to play Torchlight with your friends, and we wanted to be able to do it, again, without having to do subscription fees, or items sales, or any of the other junk that you generally have to do nowadays to play online action-RPGs with your friends.

There’ll obviously be skills and things that are designed specifically for multiplayer, and we’ll do as many cool things as we can with it, but I don’t think we’re going to be looking for a revolutionary new gameplay style with our multiplayer model.

Can you play the whole game in co-op? Is it four-way co-op?

Max Schaefer: It’s entirely soloable, so you can play as one person. We haven’t set the party maximum just yet. The sweet spot, just from playing in the office, is 1-4 players. There’s no technological reason why we can’t increase that, but once you get up to, like, eight players, it gets ridiculously crowded if you’re at all in the same area.

It is possible to have a group of four in the late game and then another group of four in the early game in, technically, the same game session and you just never see [each other]. It works fine. It’s an ongoing debate right now where we set the maximum number of players in the game. It’ll probably be between four and eight.

Will the campaign itself be longer?

Max Schaefer: Yes. We’ve got considerably more content than we did in Torchlight. We’ve got multiple hub cities, vast overland areas and lots of lots of dungeons.

Is there any PvP stuff in it?

Max Schaefer: We’ll probably enable a PvP mode that’s just basically for people to have fun with. We’re not going to spend any time trying to really balance it very well [laughs], or make particular games for it. We want PvP to basically be something where, if you just want to see who’s stronger between you and your friend, you can do that.

The second thing that really stuck out in that reveal trailer was the overland stuff. Has bringing the action out of the dungeon helped your co-op design by giving you more space? How have overland areas affected the overall project?

Max Schaefer: Technically, these are really just outdoor dungeons. They’re still randomly-generated areas – they’ll be different every time you start a new game – but they change the feeling of the game entirely.

There was some valid criticism of Torchlight that said it was a relatively claustrophobic game. You were underneath one particular town, and there clearly wasn’t much of a sense of an actual world up there. There’s a pretty striking difference. Just walking out across the wilderness to get to a town, it really feels more like an actual world.

The difference is a lot more than you would think. You get it within five minutes of playing. There’s the promise of more. Because you’re walking outdoors right at the beginning of the game, walking towards a town, you get the sense that you’re going to be seeing a lot of cool different places and a lot of different terrains, and you’re going to be really exploring a world instead of just a delving beneath one town. It really has changed the feel of the game substantially.

It also lets us explore different terrain types and different styles, and it breaks up the game better. There’s something psychologically refreshing about coming out of a dungeon and then heading across the wilderness. Even though, technically, it’s a trivial difference it just feels different.

A lot of an action-RPG is pacing. If your levels are too long, you just start to get bored, or you start to get frustrated. A lot of honing and making an action-RPG fun and compelling is the pacing of it. It really helps with pacing to be able to come indoors then outdoors, and so on.

t_insert_4

While you’re changing the physically scenario of the game, I assume you’re overhauling the classes as well. Are you keeping the classes from Torchlight and adding more, or are you starting again?

Max Schaefer: We have four new character classes, and you’re not going to be able to play the old classes any more. Those old classes will be in the game as NPCs and still part of the world lore, so you are still in the same world.

We’re starting where Torchlight’s story left off and you’re going to see some of the same NPCs that you saw the first time around, but we wanted to get away from the notion that we’re tacking on multiplayer to Torchlight. We wanted to emphasise that we’re making a completely new game, so there’s all-new skills and all-new character classes. There’ll be four character classes this time.

Care to share any of the classes?

Max Schaefer: We’ve already revealed the Railman, who’s sort of a tank with engineering skills. As per the lore, he’s out building these railways across the dangerous and monster-strewn wilderness, so he’s both got to be able to build things and fight off dangers. He’s sort of a mellee tank, but he also has engineering skills, which are pretty cool.

The other one we’ve already talked about is the Outlander. He’s a sort of wandering magician, ranged fighter type of character. The idea is that he’s not part of any structured society; he’s a lone wanderer. He’s sort of a magic, ranged counterpart to the melee tank of the Railman.

The other two characters will fill in the gaps from there.

Finally, when’s it actually coming out?

Max Schaefer: We’ve been saying April or May. We’re a game developer telling you a due date, so take that with a pinch of salt. When I say “April-May,” I probably mean “May” [laughs]. As someone told me, “You mean April 45th?”

Latest

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – watch the Prison of Elders livestream here

    Bungie will host its next Destiny: House of Wolves livestream this afternoon, with a focus on Prison of Elders. You can watch it right here on the site. The stream will kick off at 11am PDT/2pm EDT/7pm UK. A teaser was released yesterday for Prison of Elders. If you missed it, click the link. The […]

  • Kael’thas Sunstrider announced for Heroes of the Storm

    Kael’thas “Kael” Sunstrider, the self-professed Lord of the Blood Elves, has been announced as the next hero for Heroes of the Storm. Blizzard will host a Reddit Q&A where the developers will chat about the character’s addition next week on May 12. Those who are attending gamescom 2015 will be able to try the MOBA […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition players have slain over 3.4 million dragons; other EA game stats

    EA announced its full-year and Q4 2015 earnings yesterday, noting millions of hours played in title Dragon Age: Inquisition and Battlefield Hardline. Today, it has released an infographic featuring stats on some of its other titles. According to the image below, from January to March, over 2 billion minutes have been played in Battlefield Hardline, […]

  • Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush finally arrives in Europe this week – video

    Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush will finally be made available in Europe this week, and you can have a look at the region’s launch trailer below. Known in North America as Kirby and the Rainbow Curse and in Japan as Touch! Kirby Super Rainbow, the Wii U platformer was released in both regions on February […]

  • Xbox One users will be able to DVR TV shows later this year – report

    Xbox One users will be able to use a DVR feature later this year to record TV programs, according to a new tech report. Sources speaking with tech blogger Paul Thurrott confirmed Microsoft would offer a replacement for the aging Windows Media Center on Windows 10 with a a new playback feature later in the […]

  • Sony will not host a press briefing at gamescom, chooses Paris Games Week instead

    Sony will not host a press conference at gamescom 2015 this year. Instead, it will host a press event at Paris Games Week in October. Sony Europe confirmed the news to Gematsu, following a report from GameBlog. “We’re delighted to announce that we will be hosting an international media briefing at Paris Games Week on […]

  • Drizzt is coming to Neverwinter with quests written by his creator R.A. Salvatore

    Neverwinter players will soon be able to travel with none other than the fabulous Drizzt Do’Urden with a new expansion coming in 2015. Tentatively titled Neverwinter: Underdark, players will accompany Drizzt to the Drow city of Menzoberranzan during its demonic assault. A set of quests written by the creator of Drizzt, R.A. Salvatore, will be […]

  • Destiny’s big September update could be titled The Taken King – video

    Destiny’s big September update could be titled The Taken King, if a trademark which popped up a few days ago is accurate. Noticed by NeoGAF, the trademark shows the title and logo, which Eurogamer says is “reminiscent of the Hive” with the king referred to possibly being Oryx, the father of The Dark Below’s Crota. […]

  • EU PS Deal of the Week: Far Cry 4 and The Crew; plenty of games for under €10/£8

    Sony Europe has put quite a few games on sale for under €10/£8, and the Deal of the Week are two from Ubisoft. Here’s your Deal of the Week, valid through May 13: PS4 Far Cry 4 Gold Edition: £39.99/€49.99/AU$75.95 Far Cry 4 Season Pass: £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95 The Crew: €34.99/AU$34.99 PS3 Far Cry 4: £24.99/€34.99/AU$44.95 Far […]

  • Oculus Rift consumer model to skip 2015, now expected Q1 2016

    Oculus VR has announced that its Rift headset will be in the hands of consumers in the first quarter of 2016. The Oculus Rift VR headset will not ship in 2015 as previously expected, Oculus VR has announced. The announcement is referring to the consumer version and not the next development kit. This consumer model […]

  • Rogue Legacy comes to Xbox One this month

    Rogue Legacy will release on Xbox One at the end of the month. Rogue Legacy has been missing from the Xbox One library. That will soon change when the celebrated indie rogue-lite gets released on May 27. Developer Cellar Door Games announced the news today, confirming that the port will be handled by Abstraction Games. […]

  • Project Cars – the review round-up

    Project Cars has been tested and the critics are giving it positive reviews all over the internet. Slightly Mad Studios’ Project Cars spent plenty of time in the hands of racing fans for years throughout its development. As we approach the game’s release, plenty of pundits have gone hands-on and they have a lot to […]

  • Get The Witcher 3 and Batman: Arkham Knight free with purchase of new Nvidia GPUs

    Nvidia is offering two of this year’s most anticipated games for free, when you buy its new GPUs. Those thinking about getting a GTX 980, or its more affordable brother the GTX 970, will be very happy to know that Nvidia will throw in free copies of both The Witcher 3 and Batman: Arkham Knight […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: 80% of copies were sold on PS4 and Xbox One

    Despite being a cross-gen game, Battlefield Hardline made the majority of its sales on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. During EA’s earnings call last night, the publisher relayed expectations of the PS4 and Xbox One install base growing to reach 50 million. Part of that optimism is due to how well newer titles did on […]

  • Steam’s latest client update fixes years-old bug

    Steam’s infamous screenshot bug has been fixed in the latest beta release. The Steam client has been suffering from a small, but very annoying bug for over four years now. The bug would cause Steam to take two screenshots every time you press the screenshot key once. Anyone who tried to capture beautiful in-game scenes […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront will not have aiming-down-ironsights

    Star Wars Battlefront developer DICE has confirmed what many suspected would be the case for the upcoming shooter. Not counting scopes, the weapons in Star Wars Battlefront will not have iron sights. Patrick Bach, executive producer at developer DICE confirmed the news in an interview with OXM – as reported by GamesRadar. “There are no […]

  • Myst TV series now with Hulu – rumour

    Myst is still in line to spawn a TV drama. A Myst TV series was announced in October, but there was no talk of a network picking it up. Now whisperers have it that Hulu has signed the Legendary Television project. The rumour comes via Deadspin, which does not name its sources, but describes a […]

  • Silent Hills demo P.T. erased so thoroughly you can’t even re-download it now

    Why do you make it so hard to love you, Konami? P.T., the thoroughly excellent, genuinely terrifying, magnificently layered playable teaser for the cancelled Silent Hills, has now been removed from the PlayStation Store. According to both Kotaku and Polygon, the demo has been so thoroughly erased, in fact, that even if you downloaded it […]

  • Killzone 1080p false advertising lawsuit dismissed

    The Killzone: Shadow Fall Resolutiongate lawsuit has ended with a whimper rather than a bang. Last year, a class action lawsuit was brought against Sony over Killzone: Shadow Fall. The suit alleged Sony was guilty of negligent misrepresentation, false advertisement, unfair competition and fraud in the inducement for claiming that Shadow Fall had 1080p graphics, […]

  • Don’t trust marketing – trust this unscripted Magicka 2 gameplay capture

    The latest Magicka 2 trailer pokes gentle fun at gameplay trailers that present as unscripted capture of players who definitely aren’t paid voice actors. The trailer below advertises Magicka 2′s features ahead of its May 26 PC and PS4 launch (although the Challenge Mode is available right now with pre-orders). Behold: If you’re not familiar […]

  • Pedestrians turn dangerous in this GTA 5 mod

    GTA 5 mods just keep giving. GTA 5 doesn’t have the suite of cheats progenitor GTA: San Andreas did, but you can recreate at least one of them using a new mod by Trumple. The mod, which can be toggled in-game with F5 once installed, gives pedestrians weapons and makes them hyper aggressive. The streets […]

  • Mega Man Legends prequel rated for re-release

    Mega Man Legends still isn’t available on console networks, but it looks like its prequel is on the way. The Misadventures of Tron Bonne is a 1999 PSone title which served as a prequel to Mega Man Legends. The ESRB has rated it for PlayStation 3, PSP and Vita, suggesting it’s soon to be re-released […]

  • Tales of Zestiria PS4 rumours to be cleared up soon

    Tales of Zestiria will exit rumour limbo quite soon. Tales of Zestiria is rumoured for PS4 release, but Bandai Namco has so far refused to comment on the matter. In a Facebook post inaccessible in many territories but screengrabbed by Gematsu, the publisher’s Asian branch said it would be able to comment on rumours related […]

  • Sega is skipping E3 for the first time ever

    Sega won’t even have a booth at E3 2015. The end times approach, hey. Sega games will be on show at partner’s booths, but the publisher itself is missing from the attendees list. Ars Technica reports Sega hasn’t missed an E3 since the show launched in 1995, but will break tradition this year. Sega doesn’t […]

  • GTA 5 car gun mod is ridiculous, awesome

    Today, the Internet is in love with a particularly ridiculous GTA 5 mod. GTA 5 has a lot of cool weapons and mods have added even more. Topping yesterday’s excellent gravity gun is the vehicle cannon, which fires cars instead of bullets. Cars. Instead of bullets. Here’s a video of the mod in action courtesy […]

  • Mortal Kombat X PC patch pulled after erasing save files

    Mortal Kombat X was updated on PC overnight, but it wasn’t exactly what fans were hoping for. The PC version of Mortal Kombat X has come under criticism for a number of reasons, but NetherRealm said recently that a major patch would make it just as good as the console version. It’s not clear whether […]

  • PS4 and Xbox One to hit 50 million sales within a year – EA

    EA is absolutely positive on the future of the current generation of consoles, as well as the the digital sphere. During a conference call following a financial release earlier today, EA executives made several interesting comments and predictions on the state of the industry. The publisher expects an install base of close to 50 million […]

  • EA making “incubation efforts” in virtual reality space

    EA isn’t ready to make a massive commitment to virtual reality, but when the time comes it intends to be a market leader. During a post-earnings release conference call today, one caller asked if EA had any plans for VR. CEO Andrew Wilson said EA intends to “lead from the front” when VR comes into […]

  • Star Wars: Battlefront expected to shift 9-10 million units in FY 2016

    Star Wars: Battlefront will sell strongly, but not make a lot of money for EA this financial year, the publisher has warned. Star Wars: Battlefront isn’t just a license to print money, EA emphasised in a post-earnings release conference call this morning. Judging by the series’s historical sales, and by sales of Battlefield 4, EA […]

  • Don’t expect Titanfall 2 for at least nine months

    Titanfall 2 is still quite a long way out. Titanfall 2 wasn’t listed in EA’s upcoming release slate in its financials release this morning. Answering a query in a conference call following the release, EA said we can safely assume the Respawn sequel won’t release in fiscal 2016. “You assumption should be 17,” an executive […]

3 Comments

  1. Blerk

    Great interview, I hadn’t realised that there was a possibility of it being more than 2-player co-op. I’m already sold on Torchlight 2, anyway – no further pimpage required, I’ll be getting it for sure.

    One question which does spring to mind – is the sequel also going to be coming to console, or does that depend on the performance of the first one?

    #1 4 years ago
  2. mingtons ghost

    I’d imagine the sequel will come to consoles, the same thought popped into my head whilst i was reading, if its all the same engine and what not, why not release the sequel across all platforms at the same time…….monies, why miss out on all the first game wonga

    Sounds like all the hard work is done, it’ll just be a waiting game to convert and release the sequel on xbox…probably during ‘summer of arcade 2012′ put that prediction in your pipe and smoke it!

    #2 4 years ago
  3. OlderGamer

    Fantastic interview. Well done. Great game and I like the way Max thinks. Can’t wait for tourchlight II.

    #3 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

  • The 3D Realms Anthology is now available on Steam for PC and Mac

    The 3D Realms Anthology, announced back in October, is now available on Steam for PC and Mac for a limited-time price of $29.99. After the introductory period has ended, it will run you $39.99. The collection contains 32 games, which if purchased individually would you run more than $120. Here’s the list in case you […]

  • A Portal-themed pinball table is coming to Zen Pinball later this month

    Valve and Zen Studios have announced a Portal-themed pinball table is coming to Zen Pinball. The table will be made available on all pinball platforms, including Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX2, from May 25. Called the “Aperture Science Heuristic Portal Pinball Device”, it contains the characters Chell, Wheatley and of course GLaDOS. Portal Pinball […]

  • Star Wars characters coming with release of Disney Infinity 3.0: Play Without Limits

    Star Wars characters are coming to Disney Infinity 3.0: Play Without Limits. Disney says it will contain “many favorite characters and include more gameplay content and variety than ever before.” There will be three Star Wars Play sets: Twilight of the Republic set in the Episodes 1-3 timeline, Rise Against the Empire set during the […]

  • Hearthstone has been played by 30 million people

    Blizzard’s strategy game Hearthstone has 30 million players, the developer announced on Twitter. The figure doesn’t breakdown players numbers by platform, but Activision will release its recent financial report tomorrow, so maybe more information will be forthcoming. Hearthstone was releases on PC March 14, 2014 followed by Mac, phones, and tablets. Blackrock Mountain, the latest […]

  • Tomorrow’s Destiny livestream focuses on Prison of Elders – here’s a teaser

    Another Destiny: House of Wolves livestream takes place tomorrow, and it will focus on Prison of the Elders. The Prison of Elders is a prison facility in The Reef which is watched over by Variks and is part of the new Arena game mode which is limited to three players. The livestream will be hosted […]

  • Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 has been announced for current and last-gen

    Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 has been announced by Activision, which isn’t shocking in the slightest. Correction: My stupid brain has EA on it due to the financials release later today. The game is being published by Activision. Not EA and I previously stated. I apologize, and have reprimanded myself in a most sever manner. […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain Collector’s Edition is sold out in the UK

    Hopefully, you pre-ordered the Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain Collector’s Edition in the UK already. If not, you are likely out of luck. According to GAME, the pack which contains the Half Scale Replica of Snake’s Bionic Arm has sold out in the UK. The retailer confirmed the news to Videogamer this morning. […]

  • Far Cry 4 Complete Edition coming June 19 for PC, PS4 to the UK

    A Far Cry 4 Complete Edition has been announced and it includes the full game as well as the Season Pass. This is the sku which popped up on Amazon Germany earlier in the week. The Season Pass provides access to five separate pieces of DLC. Here’s a refresher on the DLC content: The Syringe: […]

  • The Witcher 3: live Q&A stream with CDP, new monster dev diary inside

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is out in just two weeks, and if you want to know more about Geralt’s latest adventure, CD Projekt is hosting a live Q&A now on Twitch. There’s also a new developer diary below which focuses on monster in the game. The Witcher 3 is out on May 19. Huzzah! […]

  • Forza Horizon 2′s Alpinestars Car Pack has five cars and is ready for download

    The Alpinestars Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2 is out now on Xbox One and its the only way you will ever be able to afford a 1992 Bugatti EB110 Super Sport. Unless, of course, you win the lottery or are left in some rich person’s will. In that case, I’ll take the ’53 Corvette, […]

  • Shadow of Mordor – Game of the Year Edition is now available in North America

    Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – Game of the Year Edition has been released in North America. It will be made available in the Europe on May 7 and in the UK May 8 for £49.99 on consoles and £34.99 on PC. As previously announced, this edition contains all previously released DLC content as well as […]

  • Two GAME exclusive versions of Halo 5: Guardians now available for pre-order

    GAME has announced two exclusive versions of Halo 5: Guardians, and both are now available for pre-order exclusively through one of the retail chain’s 318 stores or online. The £79.99 Limited Edition Halo 5: Guardians, which delivers new digital content wrapped in a steel book. There’s also the £199.99 Halo 5: Guardians Limited Collector’s Edition […]

  • Deals with Gold: Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Bioshock Infinite, more

    Microsoft has announced its latest Deals with Gold discounts for Xbox Live Gold members. Franchises on sale include Far Cry, Call of Duty, along with individual titles Assassin’s Creed Unity and Bioshock Infinite. The full list is below. Bioshock Infinite discounts are available for both Xbox Live Gold and Silver members. Xbox One Far Cry […]

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has released, watch the launch trailer here

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has launched on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can watch the launch trailer for it below. Boxed copies in Europe arrive from May 15, and in Australia/New Zealand on May 14. You can grab digital copies from the following online services: Steam, PlayStation Network, Xbox Store.

  • GOG’s online service GOG Galaxy is now in open beta

    GOG Galaxy, the DRM-free online gaming platform from the folks at GOG, has left Alpha and is now in open beta for all to try. As previously announced, the online service, similar to Steam, is option. Players do not need to play online as all games are stored by the service and can be played […]

  • DayZ-inspired Goat Simulator DLC GoatZ is out this week on Steam

    Goat Simulator players can download DayZ-inspired DLC this week called GoatZ. According to Coffee Stain Studios, GoatZ is “the only survival game on Steam that isn’t in Early Access.” Jokingly of course. The DLC features: Mandatory crafting system because everyone else is doing it. Zombies that bug out. There’s a pun here about actual living […]

  • No, Far Cry 4 is not currently free on PSN

    You may have seen a few Tweets from people saying that the PS4 version of Far Cry 4 is available to download from PSN for free. This is not true. A few readers have tipped us off to what looked like a glitch on PSN that allowed players to download the full version of Far […]

  • Metal Gear Solid: The 1984 Collection confirmed to be a clothing line

    Konami is teasing a Metal Gear Solid thing called “The 1984 Collection.” The Metal Gear Solid Facebook page posted this image about an hour ago: The caption reads, “Step back into the 80′s with our new MGS collection coming very soon! Stay tuned!” This is supposedly in reference to the clothing line that was announced […]

  • Portal, The Simpsons, Jurassic World & Scooby Doo packs listed for Lego Dimensions

    Lego Dimensions is likely getting a few unannounced content packs. One of which is themed around Valve’s Portal. A set of unannounced content packs for the upcoming Lego Dimensions have been revealed by US retailer Walmart. The listings include packs for The Simpsons, Scooby Doo and Jurassic World, and most interestingly, Portal. The listings have […]

  • This is the most authentic recreation of GTA 2 in real life ever

    Affordable drones have many uses. Most of them are not nearly as exciting as recreating GTA 2 in real life. I am surprised it took us this long, but someone has finally captured footage using a drone that resembles the protagonist’s experience in the classic GTA 2. These aren’t just shots of cars from a […]

  • PlayStation 4 sales reach 2m in the UK

    Sony has sold 2 million PlayStation 4 consoles in the UK, faster than it did with the PlayStation 2 – the company’s best-selling machine in the country. MCVUK is reporting that as of last weekend, 2 million PlayStation 4s have been sold in the UK. The data is based on GfK Chart-Track estimates. This makes […]

  • H1Z1 gets female characters, skin colour options planned

    In an effort to improve diversity in the game, H1Z1 developer has added female characters. Female survivors can now be found throughout the world of H1Z1. Developer Daybreak added the new feature in a patch released last Friday. You will be able to choose a female avatar in the main game and in Battle Royale. […]

  • Possible teaser site for Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi’s new game opens

    Either Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi is working on a soon-to-be-launched Kickstarter for his new game, or someone is pulling an elaborate prank. At PAX Prime last year, during Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No. 9 panel, a flyer was handed out to attendees that showed what appeared to be a 2D game of some sort with […]

  • Destiny weekly reset for May 5: Heroic and Nightfall strikes detailed

    Tuesday is here and Destiny’s weekly reset is also here. Bungie announced that your weekly Destiny grind has now begun. The Nightfall and Heroic strikes are now live too. This week’s strike is Winter’s Run. Rainbow burn is back for the Nightfall, which means you do more damage with all elemental weapons, but also receive […]

  • PC version of Project Cars delayed in Australia due to severe weather

    Recent weather conditions in Sydney, Australia are responsible for a slight delay of the PC version of Project Cars in the country. Sydney recently suffered from storms that caused flooding in some areas. One of those is the place where publisher Namco Bandai was storing PC copies of Project Cars. The stock was “severely damaged,” […]

  • Twitch’s new process makes it easier for streamers to appeal flagged content

    Twitch has updated its appeals process concerning videos that have been flagged by the audio ID system. Towards the end of last year, Twitch introduced a new audio recognition system that scans archived streams and automatically mutes the audio whenever copyright music is identified. The system has been in-use ever since and Twitch has today […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a day one patch, but it’s not a major one

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will indeed have a day one patch, to make the first-time experience as smooth as possible. Like many modern games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will have its day one patch. According to the developer however, it wasn’t born out of necessity. Miles Tost, level designer at developer CD Projekt […]

  • CoD: Advanced Warfare owners get free pistol today

    Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games is adding a new pistol to the game, free to all players. The M1 Irons is a new pistol that comes to Advanced Warfare starting today. The weapon is offered as a thank you gift from the developer. Sledgehammer says the Irons is good at range and packs a punch. […]

  • Fall down the Skullgirls Big Band music video rabbit hole with me

    Skullgirls is a pretty amazing fighting game, but did you know it’s also a passable music creation suite? Earlier today I was idly perusing an episode of PlayStation Underground showing off Skullgirls 2nd Encore, a re-release of the indie fighter packing in loads of new features and coming to PS4 – with full cross-play! – […]

  • The many uses of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood’s pipe weapon

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood adds a sick new weapon to BJ’s arsenal: a pipe. In Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a pipe is not just a pipe. Not only can you bash nazis with it, you can use it to climb walls, reach hatches, and even break through some walls. Plus? You can dual wield it. […]

  • Mortal Kombat X teaser gives first look at Predator

    Mortal Kombat X’s next celebrity guest was teased during the latest Kast. Today’s Mortal Kombat X Kast was mostly about all about Jason, but also included a very brief nod to Predator. You can watch the full livestream to see the tease in situ if you’re really keen, but IGN shared this convenient edit: There’s […]

  • Rock Band 4 has count-ins, drum fills and vocal harmonies

    Rock Band 4 will more closely emulate the feeling of being a real musician with some neat personalisation touches. For Rock Band 4, Harmonix elected to double down on player ownership of their experience rather than technical precision. To this end, it has implemented a number of cool new features. I am wildly envious of […]

  • Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, Lost Planet 3 developer shuttered

    Spark Unlimited has gone down with all hands. The Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z and Lost Planet 3 developer has been shuttered and all staff laid off. Chief technical officer John Butrovich confirmed the news in a statement issued to IGN. “Spark Unlimited is closing as a video game developer. The ongoing opportunities for smaller mobile […]

  • PS Now subscription available on PlayStation 3 this month, Vita coming soon

    PlayStation Now’s all you can eat service has finally been dated for PS3. Subscriptions to PS Now, Sony’s cloud-based gaming service, will be available on PS3 from May 12 in the US. The all you can eat package will also be made available on select Bravia TVs and Sony Blu-ray players on the same date. […]

  • GTA 5 is even better with a gravity gun

    GTA 5 modders have made a dream come true, adding a gravity gun to your arsenal of mayhem-causing weaponry. GTA 5 isn’t ready for this. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun, but the poor old Los Santos po po can’t deal with the resulting carnage at all. If Rockstar were ever […]

  • “Mod makers should be able to make money from their creations,” says DOOM creator

    DOOM co-creator John Romero has weighed in on the paid mods debate. Paid mods are a hot issue right now. For years, Valve has been enabling content creators to make money from their work on Counter-strike: Global offensive, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, but when it partnered with Bethesda to offer the same for […]

  • Watch WRC driver Kevin Abbring smash through a DIRT Rally challenge

    WRC driver Kevin Abbring has been participating in Dirt Rally’s daily events – and kicking ass. Dirt Rally seems to have ticked one of the most difficult to attain boxes of racing development – creating something professional drivers like to play, and which rewards their years of experience. Codemasters published the video below showing Hyundai […]

  • Mortal Kombat X patch to bring PC version up to console standard

    Mortal Kombat X PC will be fixed tomorrow, NetherRealm has promised. The PC version of Mortal Kombat X has come under fire for poor performance, including stuttering frame rate and bugs as plenty. About 45 minutes into a recent Twitch stream, NetherRealm boss Ed Boon said an update will drop tomorrow to address many of […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: all new Crucible maps detailed

    Destiny’s House of Wolves DLC will add four new maps to the Crucible, the game’s competitive multiplayer mode. Let’s take a look at all of them. Alex brings you new footage showing all of the four maps that will drop with House of Wolves. He goes over the layout, landmarks, gameplay styles, and other important […]

  • Custom Xbox One Star Wars controllers look very tempting

    Microsoft is celebrating May 4 by showing off concept designs for Star Wars-themed Xbox One controllers. May 4 is of course Star Wars Day and the controller concepts you’re about to see are just that, concepts. Or at least that’s what they said they are. There are four designs and they don’t look very practical. […]

  • Project Cars launch trailer is an anthology of race cars, set to the beats of Deadmau5

    Project Cars comes out this week and there’s just enough time for one last trailer. Project Cars, Slightly Mad Studios’ ambitious racer that has been in development for ages, is finally coming out this week. The racer received plenty of changes throughout its development based on community feedback and the final product will be in […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront dev reveals planet Sullust

    Sullust, a planet that has not been previously shown, will be featured in one of Star Wars Battlefront’s maps. Star Wars Battlefront developer DICE revealed today that planet Sullust will be one of the game’s locations. The planet was mentioned in the films and other Star Wars works, but was only shown today. DICE posted […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: Tower vendor changes

    House of Wolves will change the inventory of some of Destiny’s vendors and add new roles to others. Here’s everything that has been announced so far. You know that House of Wolves will bring a new social space to the game in the form of The Reef. But did you also know that the good […]

  • Nintendo apologises for Amiibo shortages, will reissue some out-of-stock figures

    Nintendo released a statement today to apologise for fan’s frustrations in finding some Amiibo figures and promised to handle distribution better going forward. Nintendo has been criticised recently for its lack of communication when it comes to new Amiibo figures. Something which has lead fans to not know if certain figures are limited to some […]

  • Halo: MCC “a black eye for us,” Halo 5 won’t suffer the same fate, says franchise director

    The development of Halo: The Master Chief Collection was of an “outrageous complexity,” which was one of the reasons it suffered a horrible launch. None of that will happen with Halo 5: Guardians, according to Frank O’Connor. Frank O’Connor, Halo franchise development director opened up to Xbox Achievements about the difficult task of developing The […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: weapon Reforging explained

    When House of Wolves drops in a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to change the stats of some in-game weapons. This process is called ‘Reforging’. Alex goes over all the details Bungie revealed about the new Reforging system. This covers the materials you need, the weapons that can be reforged and much more. Make […]

  • GTA 5 PC: control the in-game phone with your iPhone using this mod

    GTA 5′s latest mod lets you control the in-game phone with your real-life iPhone. Reddit user Planetleak wanted to see if he would succeed in getting his iPhone to control the phone in GTA 5. He did it and has a video to prove it. It’s not a mod per-se, but it emulates mouse and […]

  • SoulCalibur dev wants to know fans’ favourite characters for “something huge”

    SoulCalibur developers are probably working on a new game, because they’re asking fans to vote on their favourite characters. Project Soul, the longtime developer of the SoulCalibur series is soliciting feedback on fans’ favourite characters. The developer said as much in a post on its Facebook page. “Calling all SoulCalibur Fans! Project Soul would like […]

  • Jason Voorhees doesn’t look out of place in new Mortal Kombat X trailer

    Jason Voorhees comes to Mortal Kombat X starting tomorrow and it’s time to celebrate his arrival. Jason Voorhees, the first DLC character for Mortal Kombat X has been given the trailer treatment. Jason is part of the game’s Kombat Pack, owners of which can start using him tomorrow, May 5. Being an iconic horror character, […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – Dragonslayer DLC announced, free to all this week

    Dragon Age: Inquisition is getting a multiplayer expansion this week. BioWare has announced that all owners of Dragon Age: Inquisition will receive a new multiplayer expansion, for free. The expansion is called Dragonslayer and it’s centred around fighting dragons, hence the name. Three new playable characters will join the roster as you explore an all-new […]

  • Sonder is still happening, and this is the best news of the week

    Sonder is a really interesting-looking new indie adventure, which I am quite excited to remember exists. We first heard about Sonder in late 2013, when its debut trailer introduced us to a Kamai Media’s ambitious vision. In the intervening months Kamai has been hard at work on its space station management sim slash non-linear narrative […]

  • Twitter axes playable Internet Archive embeds

    The dream has died: Twitter has disabled Internet Archive game embeds. Remember how for a few days you could tweet a link to an a game on the Internet Archive and it was playable direct from that tweet? Well, Twitter has cancelled that. All those tweets now just show links. GamesIndustry suspects it has something […]

  • Lords of the Fallen, Divinity: Original Sin developers will reveal new games at E3 2015

    Lords of the Fallen developer Deck13 and Divinity: Original Sin developer Larian Studios have new projects in the works which will be revealed at E3 2015. Publisher Focus Home Interactive is behind both new games. In a French press release [PDF] spotted by RPG Codex, Focus said it will show off the two unrevealed titles […]

  • Rare game announce expected at E3 2015

    Rare’s new game will be shown off at E3 2015, apparently. Rare hasn’t announced a reveal, and neither has Microsoft, but it looks like the news has slipped out anyway. IGN cites a tweet from Rare creative director Simon Woodroffe in which he says that a new project from Rare designer Gregg Mayles will be […]

  • Batgirl expansion included in $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass

    Here’s what you get in the $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass. Batman: Arkham Knight’s season pass was announced last week, but apart from the news that it would cost a whopping $40/£33, we didn’t get many details of what it would include. Thankfully, Warner Bros. has since acknowledged the clamour this caused, as players […]

  • Star Wars Day Xbox sale discounts Force Unleashed, Lego games

    Star Wars Day is upon us, and here’s an Xbox sale to mark it. Microsoft is offering discounts on Xbox 360 games to celebrate May 4. From my desk here in Australia the sale is a bit light on content – two Lego games, plus The Force Unleashed and its DLC packs. Your mileage may […]

  • Here’s hoping this tease means we see Mass Effect at E3 2015

    Mass Effect boss Mike Gamble has shared a teaser image, which we’re more than happy to draw speculative conclusions from. The new Mass Effect game in the works at BioWare Edmonton is a mysterious beast. Judging by how long it’s been in development, it feels like we’re about due for a proper reveal, to clear […]

  • Watch almost a whole hour of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is almost here. Are you ready for old-school shooter action? Wolfenstein: The Old Blood publisher Bethesda livestreamed almost an hour of the Machine Games shooter recently, and has now uploaded the archive to YouTube. Check it out below: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood launches digitally on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on […]

  • Splatoon lacks voice chat to promote a positive online experience

    Nintendo’s multiplayer game Splatoon will not contain a voice chat option in order to “focus on the positive aspects” of online gaming. Speaking in the latest issue of Edge magazine (thanks, GamesRadar), Splatoon co-director Yusuke Amano said personal experience with negativity in online voice chat was one of the main reasons for excluding the feature. […]

  • D4 on PC: differences from Xbox One version, system specs announced

    D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die – Season 1 is coming to PC, and Access Games has provided a list of features different from the Xbox One version. We’ve pulled most of the changes off the game’s website and posted them below, along with the PC specs. D4 on PC Kinect gesture input controls replaced with […]