Sections

Dragonborn: Three hours hands-on with Skyrim

Monday, 17 October 2011 15:00 GMT By Stace Harman

Stace Harman spends a morning with Bethesda’s epic and emerges hungry for more. Words from lead artist Matt Carafano and new screens inside.

THE ELDER SCROLLS V: Skyrim

The follow up to 2006’s Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

The main quest line is approximately 30 hours in length, with scores – if not over 100 – more hours of optional content.

The behaviour of the dragons of Skyrim is dynamic – as Carafano puts it: “We just let them loose on the land and they go where they will.”

Developed and published by Bethesda.

Launches November 11 – 11.11.11 – for PC, PS3 and 360.

Soon, it will be time for action, not words. The launch of Skyrim is now so close you can almost taste it and it won’t be long before we can all gorge ourselves on dragon blood. For now, though, read a little more of my impressions from three hours of play time – especially if you’re not yet convinced that this is for you.

The nature of Skyrim’s three hour hands-on session perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the game. Where many preview sessions consist of meticulously chosen slices of stop-start game play that developer, publisher and PR feel will best represent their title and showcase its varying aspects, Skyrim’s hands-on is gloriously free-form.

Starting a little way into the game in order to maintain the virgin territory of the opening section – and perhaps because it’s likely to be comparatively linear, unlike the rest of the game – we were cast into Skyrim’s exquisitely realised world and given free rein to run amok.

The first task of character creation reveals that the process now results in more distinct avatars since we last manipulated jaw lines and skin tone in Oblivion. Each of the ten playable races have pre-defined boundaries within which you can push and pull their bone structure, meaning they still maintain key traits of their race no matter how crazy you go with the sliders.

The cat-like Khajiit gets my vote for they are described as “intelligent, quick and agile” and make excellent thieves, which is just how I like to play. Fierce avatar created, I’m set free upon the land and a rolling landscape spreads out before me.

A well trodden path is framed by dense forest through which cuts a snaking river. In the distance sits the resolute bulk of snow covered mountains, peaks obscured by cloud. The environment here is at once full of detail and promise, so much so that the custom waypoint marked on the map to the north-east is ignored in favour of the untamed wilderness of the river and mountains to the north-west.

The attractiveness of the world can be attributed entirely to Skyrim’s artists, for unlike Oblivion none of the environment, not the mountains high or dungeons deep, are created procedurally – everything you see and traverse has been created that way by design. This leads not only to majestic vistas like that before me, but also to more interesting dungeons – more on that later.

“Everything is hand done by an artist or a level designer,” lead artist Matt Carafano confirms. “Fallout 3 was the first game that we built that way and we found that it just worked so much better. It was a lot of work but it was an important goal for us and we think it makes a big difference to the quality and look of the landscape.”

“Everything is hand done by an artist or a level designer.”

Heading through the undergrowth I switch to third-person to get a feel for how this more alien viewpoint fits the game. It’s a view that I return to several times over the period of the three hours, in order to see how those who like their action viewed from above and behind will be served. Happily, the sense of connection with the environment is much improved over Oblivion’s feeling of gliding steps and floaty jumps, though I still can’t imagine wanting to play the entire game this way.

“We primarily view the game as a first-person experience, but we know that people do play in third-person and that it’s an important element for some players,” assures Carafano. “We’ve put a lot more work into it – we have a new animation system that makes the controls and blending a lot better in third person.

“We also do a lot of tricks with the camera as you play, so when you go into combat the camera pulls back and pitches down a little so that you have a better view when fighting. We’ve basically just improved the whole third person experience which was perhaps a little clunky before.”

I reach the foot of the mountains with relatively little incident and as I venture up its slopes the stirring music that drifted in and out during my romp through the forest gives way to a harsh squall, the aural effects cannily conveying a biting wind.

Stace played a newer build than seen here.

An outcropping of small stone structures provides my first look at the combat system and the quiet revelation that is dual wielding. In choosing equipment for the battle, I get a good look at the new minimalist menu, which has evidently been designed with ease of navigation in mind over aesthetic flair. Four options are presented on the cardinal compass points and split between items, map, magic and skills.

Barring the skills menu, the interface appears to have been deliberately designed to be as non-intrusive as possible, with little concern for the visual flourishes of font and colouring of Oblivion or the game world integration of Fallout 3’s Pip-Boy. There’s not even a character model to look at.

Assigning weapons, potions, spells and the like to a limitless favourites menu allows quick access via the press of a D-pad and it’s possible to assign weapon sets to two other D-pad directions. I plump for a traditional dagger and shield combo coupled with a more exotic double fire spell. Dual wielding spells increases their effectiveness at the cost of much quicker magicka drain, but this combo is enough to dispatch the low-level bandits and sufficient for me to level-up, something I do five times in total over the three hours.

It’s here that I get to play with the one area of the menu that has seen artistic attention lavished upon it: if the rest of the UI has been designed with functionality and cleanliness in mind, the skills menu is where the creative juices have been allowed to floweth over.

Written in the stars
One of the joys in the way in which Bethesda approaches its RPG levelling is that you make few conscious decisions about creating the kind of character you want to play as – instead, you just play the way you want and level up accordingly. If you spend your time skulking in the shadows, picking pockets and striking your prey from behind, your stealth and pick pocket skills will increase. If you favour wading into the fray wielding a battleaxe to crack heads first and ask questions later, your heavy armour and two-handed weapon skills will increase. In this way, these component skills increase – opening up new abilities – and contribute to your overall character levelling.

Each new level you gain grants a perk, which can be spent immediately or hoarded for one big splurge after several levels. Whichever way you choose to spend your perks, the ability to see each attribute’s entire skill tree allows you to plan a route through them, should you so wish.

We don’t have any new videos, actually.

This distribution of perk points is a delight in itself, thanks to each skill tree being represented by a constellation of stars with exquisite colouring defining the three primary areas of development: magic, weapons and armour, and non-combat skills such as lock-picking and speech.

This may seem like a lot of fuss about a user interface but you’ll be spending a not-insignificant amount of time dipping in and out of it over the 30-odd hours of the mains quest line and the scores of hours spent exploring Skyrim – so, it’s important that it doesn’t induce headaches or terminal boredom.

I mistake a slight pause when opening the menu as a pre-Beta build glitch, but Carafano explains that’s the game auto-saving – how often is does this when you open the menu is controlled by you via the settings options.

One or two minor bugs do surface, however: a well placed arrow that fells a man soon to be hung for high treason also causes his royal guard minders to collapse next to him and in the ensuing panic, the game freezes up entirely. Being pre-Beta these hiccups are likely already fixed in the latest version, but the quality assurance team have their work cut out to ensure a world as large as Skyrim’s ships as bug-free as possible.

Back in the game, I’ve move away from the broken bodies of the bandits, to take shelter from the swirling mountain winds by descending into Bleak Falls Barrow, where my first quest begins. What follows is a tale of wandering Draugrs, a giant arachnid, traps, capture, rescue and betrayal, in search of the golden claw and its secrets.

Maybe one will arrive today.

Bleak Falls Barrow is a dungeon immediately more memorable than any from Oblivion: vegetation fighting to gain a hold amongst the cold rock, low tunnels giving way to exposed chambers through which the bleak sky can be glimpsed and a narrow bridge hewn from the rock spanning an abyss into which an underground waterfall cascades. All of this has been deliberately placed by the level designers and artists to ensure that descending into a dungeon isn’t a joyless slog.

I emerge, victorious, into the pink-tinged light of early dawn, the proud custodian of one of the game’s 20 Shouts: a magic ability that is not tied to your magic stats, meaning even the most heavy-weapons focused of characters will benefit from them.

But having learned this magic word I don’t appear to be able to use it

“You’ve actually just learned the word for the Shout,” Carrafano smiles. “To be able to use its power you need to absorb a dragon soul.”

And to do that, I need to slay a dragon. But that is a tale for another day.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim launches worldwide on November 11 for PC, 360 and PS3.

Latest

  • 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 […]

  • The Megalodon returns to Battlefield 4 with the latest CTE patch

    The Megalodon Easter Egg in Battlefield 4 may have been removed earlier this year from Naval Strike, but it has since resurfaced on the CTE with the latest patch. I’d make a Jaws reference, but it’s been done to death. The shark is shown in the video on the Paracel Storm map which was where […]

  • Survival horror game Kodoku has a new work-in-progress trailer

    Kodoku, the survival horror title from Carnivore Studio, has a new work-in-progress video available, showing you how the game is coming along. Announced for PlayStation 4 and Vita back in 2013, the game is slated for release sometime this year, and tasks the player with avoiding mythical Japanese ghosts using only magic and stealth. Thanks, […]

  • Current HoloLens prototype has noticeably “tighter” FoV compared to January build

    Microsoft’s augmented reality headset HoloLens is still very much in the prototype stage, according to various reports out of the Build Conference. Microsoft hasn’t discussed technical specs with the press yet as nothing is set in stone, but during a hands-on at Build, Ars Technica noticed the prototypes had a “x86 processor, 2GB RAM, 802.11ac […]

  • Silent Hills petition asking Konami to continue development has over 50,000 signatures

    A petition to save the Silent Hills game has been formed by fans in the hopes Konami will change its mind and bring the collaboration with Guillermo del Toro back from the dead. Konami confirmed on Monday the Silent Hill remake from film director Del Toro and Metal Gear’s Hideo Kojima had been cancelled, but […]

  • Attack on Titan has a US release date, title changed in EU over copyright claim

    Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains will be released under a different title in Europe, according to the publisher, and while a release date has been set for North America, the same cannot be said for fans across the pond. According to Atlus, a copyright claim in Europe has forced the company to publish the […]

  • Yooka-Laylee meets final Kickstarter Stretch Goal in less than 24 hours

    The Kickstarter for Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee sailed beyond its final £1 million ($1.5 million) Stretch Goal overnight, which will allow for a simultaneous release on all announced platforms. Once funded, Yooka-Laylee was slated for release on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One; however, a simultaneous release on all platforms wasn’t guaranteed unless […]

  • Not a Hero will miss its May 7 release date, but not by much

    Not a Hero will miss its May 7 release date, according to an announcement from Roll7. Not to worry though, it’s only by a week. According to the developer, the delay is due to “having undergone super-secret upgrades to crank shit up to 60fps.” The extra week will provide the additional time needed for tweaking […]

  • Assassin’s Creed, The Crew, Far Cry 4, other Ubisoft titles on sale through the Humble Store

    Ubisoft has put a number of its games on sale through the Humble Store. Franchises Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry are on discount as are single release titles. The list of games on sale are below. For pricing in your region, head over to the Humble Store. Anno 2070 Complete Edition Assassin’s Creed 3 Assassin’s […]

  • Payday 2: Repeater rifle, Peacemaker pistol introduced with The Butcher’s Western Pack

    Overkill Software released the 21st DLC pack for Payday 2 yesterday, titled The Butcher’s Western Pack. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and other digital distribution channels. “For our 21st DLC we go back in time to visit the Wild West and the arsenal it was known for,” said the developers. “With it we’re introducing […]

  • The Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter just launched and has already met its funding goal

    Playtonic Games launched the Kickstarter campaign for Yooka-Laylee at 5pm UK, and in just over 30 minutes it already hit its $270,000 funding goal. You can watch the funding counter continue to roll over through the link. Yooka-Laylee is a 3D platformer where the characters use special moves such as Yooka’s tongue grapple and Laylee’s […]

  • Batch of hi-res Persona 5 screenshots released by PlayStation Japan

    A set of screenshots have been released for Persona 5, and while you’ve seen these before in magazines and on the official website, these are high-res versions. Some will even look familiar to those who watched the first gameplay trailer back in February. The shots were posted over on the PlayStation Japan Persona 5 game […]

  • Is Alien: Isolation getting HTC Vive support?

    Placeholder images for SteamVR icons have been found and it looks like there may be support for Alien: Isolation, so if you enjoy soiling yourself, get psyched! NeoGAF members found a thread on Reddit, where a little rooting around in a Steam directory unearthed the images. The list includes both games and apps, and as […]

  • Xbox Live multiplayer is free this weekend on Xbox 360

    Xbox 360 players in all Xbox Live regions can play multiplayer online for free this weekend. If you are a Silver member, this means you are Golden from May 1-3 and can play multiple games online with your buddies. All you have to do is log-in to Xbox Live.

  • Assassin’s Creed actor Michael Fassbender confirms film production starts September

    The Assassin’s Creed movie will start production this fall, actor Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, 300, X-Men:First Class) as confirmed. Speaking with ComingSoon.net, Fassbender said filming will start in September, which is inline with Ubisoft’s announcement in February. The actor will star in the film alongside Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard, both reuniting with their MacBeth director Justin […]

  • Eve Online boss states VR won’t be as big as we think next year

    I don’t think I’m the only one who wants VR to hurry up and manifest into a Sword Art Online-esque reality. Unfortunately, the chief executive officer at the studio behind Eve Online doesn’t think that will be happening any time soon. Talking to Venture Beat, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson touched on his excitement at the prospects […]

  • The Last of Us: Left Behind goes standalone in May on PS3, PS4

    Naughty Dog has announced that The Last of US DLC Left Behind will be released as a standalone experience next month. It can be purchased for both PlayStation 3 and PS4 through the PS Store and a two-hour demo of the Factions multiplayer will also be made available. “The Left Behind standalone game will have […]

  • EA’s annual E3 press conference takes place on June 15

    Electronic Arts has announced its annual E3 2015 press conference will take place the day before the show kicks off on June 15. EA, Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft always hold press events the day before E3 officially starts, so this isn’t any surprise, really. The presser, dubbed “Live to Play”, will last one hour and […]

  • Steam exchange rate mix-up closes down community market

    The Steam community market was buggered up big time today after a mix-up with currency conversion had items selling from practically nothing, to millions of dollars. PC Gamer picked up on the news after a thread on Reddit appeared with screenshots depicting just how silly things were getting over there. The currency exchange rate data […]

  • Britney Spears signs five-year deal with Glu for new mobile game

    Pop star Britney Spears has signed a five-year deal with Glu mobile for a new, untitled game. The mobile game will feature her “voice, likeness, and creative influence,” and is due for release sometime next year. Glu also signed a deal with Katy Perry in February, so expect a game revolving around her to hit […]

  • Large Activision publisher sale on Steam discounts Call of Duty, Prototype, more

    Activision has put the majority of its library on sale through Steam this weekend, and if other titles weren’t included, it could be referred to as a Call of Duty sale. Below are a few standouts. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Gold Edition 25% off Call of Duty: Ghosts 67% off Call of Duty: […]

  • The Dota 2 International Compendium is out, second Stretch Goal almost complete

    The International Compendium has been released for Dota 2 with the prize pool sitting at a lovely $1,917,155 as of press time. Valve said over the weekend to expect the International Compendium to drop sometime this week. As with previous years, those who purchase the Compendium can earn rewards by completing challenges, making predictions and by […]

  • If permadeath RTS games are up your alley, check out indie project XO

    The Square Enix Collective showcases projects for a limited time to help drum up community support and potential backers, and RTS title XO from Jumpdrive Studios is worth taking a look at. The teaser trailer is fairly brief, but if you visit the page for XO over at the Square Enix Collective, it’s understandable – […]

  • GTA 5 PC patch disables mods. Here’s how to get them working again

    A new patch for the PC version of GTA 5 was released yesterday and, as it turns out, has wiped the ability to use mods with the game. The wasn’t great news for some players, but YouTuber taltigolt has already figured out how to play the PC version with mods after installing the patch. Matt […]

  • Xbox One ad stealth launches a mysterious Halo 5 competition

    A new Xbox One advert released today isn’t as straightforward as it appears. The trailer has a couple of pretty conspicuous ‘glitches’ throughout, and members of NeoGAF wasted no time in breaking it down. The first item of interest is the screen from the hunt the signal site, which displays an error message when accessed […]

  • Battlefield 4 Jungle map improved with latest update

    DICE LA has updated the Battlefield 4 Jungle map, adding more foliage and a new route. As demonstrated by Westie in the video above, the map now has the kind of foliage you’d expect in the jungle, helping to conceal infantry players. The update also tweaks positions of objective points and has added a concealed […]

  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate free DLC pack for May includes Metroid and Mega Man armour

    The May DLC pack for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate boasts some big ticket items, including Metroid, Street Fighter, and Mega Man gear. This big fat chunk of free DLC, detailed on the capcom unity blog, includes Hunter equipment: Metroid’s Varia Suit Metroid’s Zero Suit Metroid’s Arm Cannon Taiko Drum Master Hunting Horn USJ’s Star Rook […]

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory for May 1, 2 – Hard Light edition

    Here he comes with his weird face, dealing goods and gear for Guardians. It’s Friday. Xur: Agent of the Nine is back in the Tower. Of Course he is. Got your Strange Coins? Here’s what’s in his bag this week: Ruin Wings [Exotic Titan gauntlets] – 13SC Don’t Touch Me [Exotic Hunter gauntlets] – 13SC […]

19 Comments

  1. YoungZer0

    This is one of those rare games that shouldn’t interest me, but changed completely changed my opinion about it.

    I’m not into Fantasy Games, especially not into Elder Scrolls, but the more i read and especially the more i saw, the more it changed from a “Meh!” to a “OMG i need to have this game, i’m only living for this game to released!”

    It easily has become my most anticipated game of the year. And boy do i need a good game after this year.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Stace Harman

    @1 – Based on what I’ve seen and played so far, you won’t be disappointed.

    My personal view of Skyrim has changed in a similar way to yours, initially I didn’t intend to buy it but since E3 my mind has been well and truly changed.

    Really looking forward to it.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. AHA-Lambda

    @2 – really? I admit I couldn’t get into oblivion no matter how hard I tried. I may be willing to still give skyrim a shot tho

    #3 4 years ago
  4. YoungZer0

    I’d buy it just for the new character-creation. The character-creation from Oblivion was horrifying.

    I mean, come on! Warpaint AND Scars? You don’t get more awesome than that!

    Besides the art-direction looks fantastic so far. Never liked the art-direction from Oblivion. Trees and Grass everywhere.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Stace Harman

    @3 I played a good 80-odd hours of Oblivion but ran out of steam and didn’t have a lot of motivation to do the main storyline. Skyrim looks to have been tightened up in that respect and the main quest arc (which Bethesda has deliberately not been focusing on in these hands-on sessions) is more compelling.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    Main storyline was not important for Elder Scrolls and probably never will be about it. It’s about freedom, your choice.

    I’m more interested in the gameplay aspect. Because if it is something like Oblivion i’m pass.

    If it’s closer to Morrowind than it’s great.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. OrbitMonkey

    This Is the only game capable of keeping me off MW3 mp. Anticipation is high :)

    #7 4 years ago
  8. turin

    @6 – Indeed. If people want a game with a great storyline, they should look elsewhere because that’s just not what TES is about.

    I have to say though, i’m not expecting much from Skyrim. I think it will be good, but i’m really not expecting it to beat Morrowind, Oblivion or Daggerfall (at least not for me). There’s just too many things I dislike about the direction it’s headed in. Fewer skills, attributes gone, fewer armour pieces, no armour degredation, more and more emphasis on third-person, forced finisher moves, etc. etc.

    At least with Oblivion, it’s flaws were easy to remedy with mods…

    #8 4 years ago
  9. YoungZer0

    @8: All the things you mentioned can easily be fixed with mods. Matter of fact, if you had the pleasure of playing Fallout with Mods, you know what i’m talking ’bout.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Anders

    I can’t comprehend that this’ll be out in less than a month. A month!

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Roughrider

    How is the texture popping, slow texture streaming, and 100%cpu usage on a beastly machine running SLI’d ATI cards? Just as bad as Rage? Did you by chance ask if they were on a release now patch later schedule?

    Will the 360 version work flawlessly, while the ps3 version will work almost flawlessly (minus texture issues) while the PC version is completely hosed on release day?

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Anders

    @11: That’s really not a valid comparison. Rage and Skyrim were developed by completely different teams using completely different technology.

    Historically though, Bethesdas open world titles have always been pretty buggy on release.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Maximum Payne

    @11 I play just Fine RAGE but yea I understand your problem.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. DarkElfa

    I think I just filled the cup.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. turin

    @9 I wouldn’t call modding attributes and skills into the game “easy”. That’s pretty much changing how the game works entirely. It’s possible, of course… but certainly not something we’re likely to see any time soon.

    Separating armour pieces isn’t easy either. Pretty much all of the armour in Skyrim is being designed as one-piece outfits (gloves, boots and helmets excluded). Most likely, the modder will have to make entirely new sets of armour themselves with separate cuirass + greave pieces, rather than trying to do anything with the current armour.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. YoungZer0

    @15: Skill changing mods were introduced a month or two after Fallout 3′s GEEK was released. Balancing that is another story.

    Armour Pieces Mods were released after 3 months if not shorter. They took existing pieces and just separated them.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. DX2Texas

    I pre- ordered this game i cant wait to get it!

    #17 4 years ago
  18. klewd

    How does the radiant storytelling work with quests?

    things like “The game will look at the nearby dungeons you’ve explored, automatically set the mission in a place you’ve never visited, and designate opponents that are appropriately matched to your strengths and weaknesses” makes it sound like it’s going to be very …generated.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. turin

    @16 I’m talking about adding 8 or more attributes to the game, not simply changing a skill. The modder would pretty much have to scrap Skyrim’s entire levelling system and start from scratch. Not exactly what i’d call an easy mod; nor is it something I think we’ll see shortly after release.

    I hope you’re right though. Perhaps if the modding community isn’t too engaged in making boob mods and mountable dragons we’ll end up with a good RPG after all.

    #19 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

  • Ubisoft makes good on Child of Light promise with free eBook

    Child of Light fans can check out a gorgeous new illustrated book set in the world of Lumeria. Earlier this month, creator Patrick Plourde confirmed that there were more Child of Light projects on the way. As we expected from the cagey wording, at least the first of these projects isn’t a game: it’s an […]

  • Half-life episode from Junction Point would have featured a magnet gun

    Half-life seems to be on near permanent hold, but at least we can glean some insight into what might once have been. Junction Point’s cancelled Half-life game came up in Warren Spector’s Reddit AMA overnight. Commenting that he isn’t sure whether he’ll get into legal trouble for discussing the project, Spector gave a few comments […]

  • Destiny: exclusive shader, emblem on offer with Nepal benefit shirt

    Destiny developer Bungie has asked Guardians to offer their aid, and they’ve already responded in troves. A new Destiny shirt added to the Bungie Store is the object of a fundraising drive to provide aid in Nepal following a devastating earthquake this week. Bungie popped the pretty stylish shirt on sale earlier today, offering an […]

  • What does the creator of Deus Ex think of Human Revolution and Mankind Divided?

    Deus Ex creator Warren Spector seems pretty positive about the direction the sci-fi series has followed under Square Enix’s hand. Deus Ex was created by Spector and his team at Ion Storm, and remained with Eidos after the developer shuttered. When Square Enix purchased the British publisher, it put new studio Eidos Montreal to work […]

  • Protest Goat secures future for Elite Dangerous destruction derbies

    One of the stranger and more beautiful stories to manifest in the gaming world this week, I think. Elite: Dangerous has given birth to an unintended, emergent style of gameplay; a destruction derby like affair where players gather in no combat areas to both race and gleefully smash into each other until a victor limps […]

  • Destiny’s stunning landscapes captured in panoramas

    Destiny has some beautiful environments, which screenshots don’t necessarily do justice to. Walking around Destiny exclaiming over the lighting effects and the tiny animated details is the best way to experience Bungie’s tremendous achievements, but these panorama images stitched together from in-game screenshots are a good second. Click to see them fullsize. Redditor CenturyEagle made […]

  • Star Wars Disney Infinity re-release on the cards – rumour

    Star Wars is a no-brainer for Disney Infinity, and at long last it looks like it’s happening. A Star Wars re-release called Disney Infinity 3.0 has reportedly leaked from German retailers. We have to lable this one a rumour as we haven’t seen the original source, but the story was originally reported by DisKingdom, which […]

  • Award-winning mobile indie Monument Valley out now on Windows Phone

    Windows Phone’s game selection can be a bit restrictive, but has expanded delightfully today: Monument Valley is now available. Monument Valley is one of those gorgeous, mind-bending puzzlers the indie scene produces on the regular, winning awards and consuming everyone’s lives for weeks on end. Developed by Ustwo Games, with beautiful, understated art from Ken […]

  • Old-school EverQuest servers safe from legal troubles thanks to Daybreak agreement

    EverQuest rights holder Daybreak Game Company given its blessing to the wonderful Project 1999. EverQuest: Project 1999 is one of those lovely ideas that it are all too often crushed by the realities of the games industry. An entirely fan-managed affair, it provides an emulated version of the classic EverQuest experience, which is no longer […]

  • Free Dragon Age short stories fill us in on Corypheus’s followers

    Dragon Age: Inquisition developer BioWare invites you to learn more about the lore and characters that make up its beautiful role-playing setting. Dragon Age is set in Thedas, a world still only partially revealed by the three core games to date. BioWare puts a heck of a lot of work into its worldbuilding, employing a […]

  • Remember that gorgeous Luminous Engine tech demo? It now utilizes DirectX 12

    Remember the gorgeous Luminous Engine tech demo Square Enix showed off three years ago? The firm showed it again at Microsoft’s Build Conference, this time utilizing DirectX 12. The Witch Chapter 0 [cry] real-time tech demo was created from research Square conducted using real-time CG technology and DX12 in collaboration with Microsoft and Nvidia. The […]

  • Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones sneaks onto GOG and Steam services

    Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones can now be purchased through GOG and Steam. On both services it will run you £12.99/€14.99/$14.99. Links here and here. The game features: Fully explorable ‘Metroidvania’ style overworld, laying siege to a diabolical cloning facility with varied and detailed environments. A variety of special equipment to unlock new […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare DLC Ascendance has arrived on PC, PlayStation consoles

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players on PC and PlayStation consoles can now download the Ascendance DLC. The second content pack contains the OHM weapon, the OHM Werewolf custom variant, and the second entry in the Exo Zombies saga, Infection. Four new maps are also included: Perplex, Site 244, Climate, and Chop Shop. Ascendance was […]

  • Latest Xbox 360 system update is live, now supports 2TB hard drives

    Xbox 360 now supports 2TB hard drives via the latest system update for the console. Support for the drives was announced earlier this month and has been available for preview members. “In addition we will also no longer reserve space in advance on your hard drive,” said the firm. “If you are using 16GB of […]

  • Kickstarter for Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor Yooka-Laylee launches tomorrow

    Playtonic Games has announced the Kickstarter campaign for its spiritual successor to the Banjo Kazooie series, Yooka-Laylee, will launch tomorrow. The title of the game was announced today along with the Kickstarter date. Formerly known as Project Ukulele, the 3D platformer is said to be “between the size of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie,” and stars Yooka […]

  • Console version of Mistwalker’s Terra Battle is in development

    Now that Mistwalker’s Terra Battle has surpassed 2 million downloads on mobile, the developer is now working on a console version of the tactical RPG. As part of the original Download Starter campaign, the 2 million milestone means the company will begin development on Terra Battle’s console version with details to be announced at a […]

  • Prison break game The Escapists is heading to PlayStation 4 from May 29

    The Escapists, Mouldy Toof’s prison break game originally released as a timed console exclusive Xbox One, has a release date for PlayStation 4. For those unfamiliar with the title, which is also a PC release, it tasks players’ time management skills as they do a bit of digging and crafting, and other prison-type stuff as […]

  • Dead Island 2 delayed into 2016 to ensure series is “taken to the next level”

    Dead Island 2 has been delayed into 2016 by Yager in order to ensure the sequel “takes Dead Island to the next level.” According to a tweet from the developer, it set “big goal” for the game, and in order to deliver what fans expect, the team needs more time to reach development goals. “We […]

  • Project Cars: here’s a list of all available cars at launch

    Project Cars will contain many, many cars and if we are counting correctly, there will be 74 total at launch. The standard edition contains 65 total, and when factoring the free car as well as the Modified and Limited Edition cars packs, you can add an additional nine cars to the mix. Comb through the […]

  • Competitive matchmaking support is coming to Team Fortress 2

    Team Fortress 2 will soon feature support for competitive matchmaking, which Valve says is a “high priority” project for it at the moment. According to a report from TeamFortress.tv, which visited Valve headquarters recently, Valve is looking into the possibility of 6v6 or 9v9 matches 9v9, a possible quick play option and it is also […]

  • GTA 5 PC patch fixes garage, Job crashes – full notes here

    Rockstar has pushed out a 353 MB patch for GTA 5 on PC The patch fixes a number of annoying bugs related to vehicles and garages, some deathmatch issues and purchase errors. It should also fix various freezing and crashing bugs, as well as a little issue with Steam. Time will tell if the patch […]

  • Fire Emblem If will come in White Kingdom and Black Kingdom versions with amiibo support

    We’ve finally got some juicy details on the next Fire Emblem game, but the most interesting aspect is that there will be two versions of the game. According to Siliconera, who translated an interview between Intelligent Systems and 4Gamer, there will a White Kingdom and a Black Kingdom version that offer different aspects of the […]

  • Deception 4: The Nightmare Princess heads west with “Golden Toilet” pre-order bonus

    Deception 4: The Nightmare Princess will debut on western PlayStation 4 systems this summer, Koei Tecmo has announced. It is also coming to PS3 and Vita. The game was produced by Keisuke Kikuchi of Fatal Frame fame and takes up where Deception 4: Blood Ties left off allowing players to relive Laegrinna’s pursuit to free […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update: Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario demo, Paper Mario, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a demo of Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition, Paper Mario on Virtual Console, and amiibo Tap. The full update is below. eShop update amiibo Tap – free – Wii U Star Wars Pinball DLC – Wii U Paper Mario – Wii U […]

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided PC port handed off to Nixxes

    The PC port of the new Deus Ex has been handed over to Netherlands based studio, Nixxes software. After the initial reveal trailer at the beginning of April, we’ve only had a few morsels in the way of additional news. The most intriguing tidbit to date has got to be the fact that you’ll be […]

  • First-ever PC Gaming Show to take place at E3 2015 in June

    PC gaming will finally have its very own E3 press conference this year, thanks to PC Gamer and AMD. The PC Gaming Show will take place on June 16 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles and it will be livestreamed on Twitch. PC Gamer said speakers at the presentation will include representatives from Blizzard, […]

  • Majora’s Mask light available now on Club Nintendo for 6000 stars

    Club Nintendo shuts up shop on September 30 and members are being encouraged to spend accumulated stars before then. And what better to spend them on, than this adorable Majora’s Mask light? If you’re a member based in Europe you can nab it for 6000 stars. If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, it’ll only […]

  • Unity support announced for HoloLens, will work with Windows universal apps

    Microsoft is partnering with game engine developers Unity in order to make HoloLens compatible with apps and games which use the cross-platform engine. The partnership was announced yesterday during its Build Developer Conference. Universal apps for Windows 10 systems will also be available on Xbox One later this year, suggesting possible HoloLens functionality with the […]

  • Splatoon Nintendo Direct airs Thursday, May 7

    A Nintendo Direct focused on Splatoon, the Wii U multiplayer title, on May 7. It will kick off at 7am PDT/10am EDT/3pm UK and it can be watched via the Nintendo Direct website. You can also have a look at the game through Nintendo’s Twitch channel. The last game-specific presentation took place last week and […]

  • GTA 5 PC: clean up the streets as a member of the San Andreas PD with this new mod

    Remember the awesome mods for GTA 4 and San Andreas that let you run amok online as a member of the po-po? Well, dust off your taser and load up your gun, because it’s coming to GTA 5. The new mod for GTA 5 is currently in alpha and can be downloaded at palmbeachgames.com. You […]

  • Indie shoot ‘em up Project Root comes to Xbox One, PS4 and PSVita

    Project Root is a self-proclaimed rejig of the shoot ‘em up genre that was released on PC last year, and it’s finally coming to consoles. Combining free-roaming elements with the usual business of shooting things, Project Root was released this week for Xbox One, PS4 and the PSVita.

  • You can now bet on eSports online, starting with League of Legends

    If you’re getting bored with sticking a pony on the races, you can expand your gambling horizons at Unikrn where you can watch esports streams and get a little action on the side. The new platform was set up by Rahul Sood – previously the general manager of Microsoft Ventures. At the moment, customers are […]

  • Has Watch Dogs 2 been leaked?

    Ubisoft employee, Julien Risse, may have inadvertently confirmed Watch Dogs 2, thanks to his online CV over at LinkedIn. Videogamer.com spotted the slip up, in which Risse lists Watch Dogs, the DLC Bad Blood, and Watch Dogs 2 on his profile. Creative Director Jonathan Morin has already talked about his ideas for improvements for the […]

  • GTA 5′s Trevor makes his Jackass debut, complete with leopard-print knickers

    YouTuber Abstract Mode has shared his vision of what Trevor Philips’ life might have been like, had he not been completely batshit crazy. Watch Trevor get mauled, run over, and hit by a train, before taking a majestic swan-dive into someone else’s pool at the climax. Thanks, Kotaku.

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 season pass will cost you £35

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 isn’t released until November 6, but you can already hand over your cash for the Season Pass. The Season Pass is available for pre-purchase on Steam for £34.99, and will cover four DLC packs – although the details we have on the content are limited to ‘exciting’ at this […]

  • GTA Online’s cheating assholes are no match for this player’s vengeance

    Think you’re smart for using invisibility and infinite ammo glitches? You need to be taught a lesson, sucker. You can have all the hacks you want but if your GTA Online game is weak, you’ll still get your ass handed to you. As this fool discovered when attempting to hassle another player. There’s a fair […]

  • PS4 sales help Sony’s games division swing to profit

    Sony’s PlayStation business has made an operating profit of 48.1 billion yen ($404m / £261.5m) in the past 12 months. That’s thanks to stellar sales of the PlayStation 4 and PS Plus, even as sales of the PS3 have stalled and the company wrote off costs for the PSTV and PS Vita. The profit puts […]

  • New patch for Dirt Rally gives co-driver’s attitude a tune-up

    Dirt Rally gets a new patch three days after release on Steam. On Monday, we reported that the newest Dirt game has popped up on Steam’s Early Access and is available to pick up for £24.99, as well as giving you an eyeful of tasty screenshots. The patch – released yesterday – fixes some issues […]

  • New The Witcher 3 screenshots show combat, exploration and general carousing

    New screenshots released on the official facebook page for The Witcher 3 show Geralt annihilating a winged beast, out and about in the world exploring, and living the life of Reily amidst a bustling feast. We were already treated to some glorious screenshots a few days ago, but these new ones are in-game and give […]

  • Destiny: 14 things you might have missed during House of Wolves intel drops

    Destiny: House of Wolves does a great deal more than just slap some new content on the existing game structure. House of Wolves changes Destiny in a lot of interesting and very welcome ways. Bungie showed off many of these changes in its livestream, and let both me and Arekkz come and have a look […]

  • Scratch that cyberpunk itch with Technobabylon on May 21 – new trailer

    Technobabylon more like Wrecked-yo-babbling with my smooth flow about how good Wadjet Eye games are. I don’t know y’all, it’s clock off time and everything feels like a reach. Wadjet Eye makes pretty good adventure games – award winning, in fact. The latest project to spring forth from the benevolent, sheltering hand of the label […]

  • Skullgirls 2nd Encore brings exclusive new features to PS4, Vita in northern summer

    Skullgirls, the little indie fighter that could, is getting another crack at it. Skullgirls 2nd Encore is the second re-release of the one-time troubled 2D versus fighter from lab Zero Games. Having survived the shut down of its developer and collapse of its publishing contrast, Skullgirls re-emerged as Skullgirls: Encore, adding in a ton of […]

  • Danganronpa series generates “impressive” sales for Vita exclusive

    Danganronpa is selling quite nicely, thank you, says NIS America. Danganronpa is a series of murder mystery visual novel puzzlers in a similar vein to games like 999. Two of these have been released for Vita in the west – Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair. Speaking to MCV, NIS America CEO and president Takuro […]

  • I have no idea what is going on in J-Stars Victory VS+ but I kind of like it

    In this J-Stars Victory VS+ trailer, we see – uhh. Well. We certainly see some things. Look y’all, I was a massive weaboo in high school, but that was back in the dark ages when we had to take out Manga Entertainment VHS tapes from dingy little specialist rental joints that were literally underground, and […]

  • Please just watch this terrific trailer for Toren

    Toren is the kind of game I dream about when I drift off to sleep at night. This indie puzzle adventure strikes a spark in my little soul in the same way as Ico and Tequila Works’ Rime do. Mysterious, almost ethereal fantasy setting – check. Chance to actually walk around in that setting – […]

  • Play classic MS-DOS games on your own tweets

    In today’s episode of “what will they think of next”, someone’s figured out how to post playable versions of classic games in tweets. For some time now, Twitter has allowed you to embed various forms of media in tweets, most noticeably YouTube videos, simply by pasting a URL into the compose field. Turns out this […]

  • VR: Unreal Engine to add HTC Vive support

    The biggest digital PC game distributor and the most popular game development engine have both backed VR. It’s going to happen. An upcoming Unreal Engine 4 update will expand the development suite’s support to the HTC Vive, Valve’s VR headset. In this glorious new future where work on one of the most important engines in […]

  • WWE 2K15 PC supports modding

    WWE 2K15 may be the series’ PC debut, but it’s already getting into the spirit of the platform. WWE 2K15 does indeed support mods on PC, 2K’s Marcus Stephenson has confirmed. @ElementGamesTV you can. Now buy. — Marcus Stephenson (@stephensonmc) April 28, 2015 As Destructoid points out, this opens the door to all sorts of […]

  • Overkill’s The Walking Dead coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2016

    Overkill’s The Walking Dead is one step closer to your grasping little paws. Overkill’s The Walking Dead will be published by 505 Games, Overkill parent Starbreeze has announced. 505 also published Payday 2, Overkill’s previous title, so the two companies have established a working relationship. In a press release, the publisher said the co-op title […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 pre-orders net Advanced Warfare DLC

    Buy Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for later, enjoy bonus Advanced Warfare content now. Blacks Ops 3 is being supported by a rather cunning pre-order incentive even more likely to get you to lay your cash down sooner than you might otherwise. Gamespot reports a Black Ops 3 pre-order will receive a couple of […]

  • Steam Game Ban system lets developers determine who to block

    Steam users can now be blocked from individual games by their developers. Steam has always supported multiplayer bans for disruptive users, but a newly-implemented system allows developers to ban users from individual games using their own anti-cheat systems. Game Bans are enforced by Valve, but are enacted at the developer’s request and discretion. This change […]

  • Far Cry 4 devs matching Red Cross donations up to $100K to aid Nepal earthquake victims

    Far Cry 4 developer Ubisoft Montreal will match any pledges made to The Red Cross up to $100,000 to aid Nepal after the 7.8 earthquake struck the area in and around Kathmandu in Nepal. According to Ubisoft: “Having spent the last few years working on Far Cry 4, a game heavily inspired by Nepal and […]

  • Tales of Zestiria retail listing notes September release date, PS4 version

    Tales of Zestiria is coming west in northern autumn, and while it’s confirmed as a PlayStation 3 release, a Dutch retailer has it listed as coming to PS4 as well. Of course, listing it for PS4 could also be a typo, not that I would personally know about that sort of thing, really. However, according […]

  • Official mod tools for Total War: Attila are now available

    Official mod tools for Total War: Attila are now available and you can grab the new Assembly Kit as a beta through the tools menu via your Steam library. The Creative Assembly said the tools will be “immediately familiar” to modders of Rome 2 and Shogun 2, but the new version is the most “extensive” […]

  • How to get level 34 Ascended Raid gear in Destiny: House of Wolves

    Watch: two videos showing you how to get level 34 raid gear and a shopping list of what you need. One of the big changes that House of Wolves is bringing to Destiny is the chance to upgrade your weapons and gear to level 34. In these videos Arekkz Gaming shows you how to use […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves puts PvP back in the spotlight

    Destiny PvP players, your time has come to shine. New Crucible maps. New Crucible rewards. And the glorious wonder of Elimination mode. Destiny: House of Wolves puts PvP front and centre. When Destiny was first detailed, one of the things Bungie stressed was that there’d be something for everyone. If you wanted to play solo […]

  • Destiny: Trials of Osiris – everything you need to know in one video

    The Destiny: House of Wolves embargo has lifted, and with so much information floating around pertaining to Trials of Osiris, it can be overwhelming. Thankfully, Arekkz Gaming tells you everything you need to know in one video. In the video above you will be informed of how the 3v3 Team Deathmatch event works, how you […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – watch a Trials of Osiris match from start to finish

    With the release of Destiny: House of Wolves looming, players will soon be able to participate in the new 3v3 Team Deathmatch event in The Crucible, Trials of Osiris. Below is a video featuring an uncut, complete match from start to finish. In the video, Arekkz Gaming gives you a breakdown of the mode and […]

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood – here’s what your PC needs in order to run it

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is out next week, and Bethesda has today released the PC specs for the standalone title. MachineGames has made some tweaks to the system requirements and have included both minimum and recommended specifications. Minimum OS: 64-bit Windows 7/Windows 8 Processor: Intel Core i5-2500 @ 3.3 GHz / AMD FX-8320 @ 3.5 […]

  • Destiny: Trials of Osiris – watch the livestream reveal right here

    Bungie will be showing off Destiny’s new 3v3 Team Deatmatch Trials of Osiris today, and you can watch the Twitch stream right here if you like. It kicks off at 11am PDT/2pm EDT and will feature community manager Deej and design leads Lars Bakken and Derek Carroll. More will be revealed on House of Wolves […]