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State of MMO’s nation: WoW’s cloying ten-year legacy

Tuesday, 3 July 2012 13:58 GMT By Brenna Hillier

With The Secret World launching today and Guild Wars 2 just down the road, it’s an exciting time for MMOs. But while indulging in a little light grinding, even a newb like Brenna Hillier couldn’t help but feel the long shadow of Azeroth.

If the latest crop of MMOs represent the growth of a genre in the decade since World of Warcraft launched, then I genuinely fear it has stymied. Is this what MMORPGs are reduced to? Catering only to an existing market rather than trying to find new users?

It’s been ten years since World of Warcraft debuted and changed the MMORPG space forever. Although games like Ultima Online and Everquest were popular and successful, World of Warcraft is an inarguable cultural phenomenon, hugely influential on gaming and geek culture – and beyond. Want proof? I’ve never played it, and until recently I’d never even played any kind of MMO, and yet I can reliably bumble along in the language of the scene.

Raids, instances, tanks, DPS, controllers, buffs, LFG; I understand, on an abstract level, how the game is played. World of Warcraft may not have established this gameplay lingua franca but it cemented it, and it remains the giant of the MMORPG world, the touchstone for all others to come. New MMORPGs reference the same themes and schemes; every new MMORPG is designed to be if not a WoW-killer then certainly to attract a portion of its audience; new MMORPGs are designed for World of Warcraft veterans.

The evidence for this is clear in World of Warcraft’s competitors. I recently participated in two different MMORPG betas – first Guild Wars 2, and later The Secret World, which EA is releasing today. Loading up the Guild Wars 2 beta was my very first experience with a MMORPG. I chose a Charr character and leapt into the fray – quite literally, as the Charr story begins on a battlefield, which was somewhat stressful given I had no idea how to stop my health bar going down. My contribution was to run into a wall and stand there for 20 minutes while I frantically searched for an online instruction manual.

I am a veteran gamer and I don’t need a lot of handholding. If I am playing a game with a keyboard and mouse, certain universal ideas – like WASD – probably don’t need explaining. With this in mind I boldly strode forward. And forward. And forward some more – despite how frantically I was wiggling the mouse and expecting it to steer me towards my goal. After a few moments of wretched confusion I figured out that MMORPG characters control like tanks – forward and backward and rotate, a thing I thought we’d merrily jettisoned along with late 90′s survival horror. And after some experimentation, that you need to right click and drag the screen to move the camera.

World of tanks

This felt so clunky and awful that it was like the first time, a lifetime ago it seems, that I used twin analog sticks – and spent half the time staring at the sky and the other half at the ground while dashing in a circle. I briefly wondered if I had had a stroke and lost the part of my brain how to play games, or whether the cold in my office had finally destroyed the nerves in my hands.

I immediately contacted a couple of better-experienced types to flag this bizarre control system with them and elicit some sympathy. I received none; Pat was actually struck slightly speechless to think of anybody not knowing how drag the camera as instinctively as they know which button is “jump” or which trigger is “fire”. This is something everyone knows because everyone has played World of Warcraft – or a game so like it that the distinction is a matter of aesthetics.

What does it say about the current approach to online RPG design that this background knowledge is assumed right from the get go? If you’re playing an MMO, the games seem to reason, then you must already know how they work. You know how to play an MMORPG because you played World of Warcraft.

What does it say about the current approach to online RPG design that this background knowledge is assumed right from the get go? Guild Wars 2 is aimed very firmly at MMO veterans; there’s no denying the messaging and the intent inherent to its design. I had the same experience jumping into The Secret World, though Funcom had at least thought to include a few control prompts and actually fronted a pretty reasonable tutorial section introducing its unusual, classless weapons and powers systems. But even once I overcame my discomfort with the controls in both games I started finding a bunch of other things to be confused about.

Neither makes any effort to teach you how to play an MMORPG. I don’t know how or why I’d want to join a group. I don’t know what powers and equipment I’m supposed to use. IIf you’re playing an MMO, the games seem to reason, then you must already know how they work. You know how to play an MMORPG because you played World of Warcraft, and from long discussions with MMORPG veterans on this very subject, it seems that every MMORPG produced in its wake has been an attempt to refine, improve upon or succeed it.

So far, none have done so to any great degree. If the latest crop of MMOs represent the growth of a genre in the decade since World of Warcraft launched, then I genuinely fear it has stymied. Is this what MMORPGs are reduced to? Catering only to an existing market rather than trying to find new users?

This isn’t to say that The Secret World and Guild Wars 2 will be “bad,” obviously. But the question of when we’re going to see true innovation in the MMO space has to be asked: it doesn’t look as though it’s going to be this year.

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22 Comments

  1. Talkar

    The only upcoming MMO i’m looking forward to is Planetside 2 x)
    But great article!

    #1 3 years ago
  2. roadkill

    “the long shadow of Azeroth.”? Really? LOL!!

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    This year Blizzard is probably going to show/announce TITAN.

    and when they will show at least one screenshot, Blizzard fanbase.. i mean blizzard peasants will cry all over the place and pray to them to release it with “Shut up and take my money/car/house!”.jpg’s

    and when the game will be released, Blizzard will suck their wallets to death.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. DSB

    I think that mostly depends on whether they can do it again. Even Blizzard are going to have to outdo WoW to seize the market again.

    What I don’t get is why so many MMOs are still hiding behind a paywall. Should you really be charging potential buyers four months of play just so they can buy even more months of play?

    I don’t see the point. It should be all about bringing people in, not keeping them out.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Erthazus

    @DSB,

    “Even Blizzard are going to have to outdo WoW to seize the market again.”

    Diablo III with all of it’s mistakes proves that you can sell on the PC (the most pirated platform ever in existence) a singleplayer game at launch for 6.5 million units + AH for Real money.

    With this in mind, next MMORPG from Blizzard will be a New Jesus Christ to Gamers. Jesus is coming DSB, this year only on Blizzcon.

    also, Mark Morhaime said that it’s new mmorpg will blow brains, so… It’s happening even if the game is going to be shit in the end.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Eregol

    @3 And when exactly do you expect them to announce that?

    #6 3 years ago
  7. OlderGamer

    It will be next spring Erth, this year will be about the new wow expac, I think.

    And to an extent Brenna is correct. I have played better games then wow, but I still play wow and not those other games. Rift comes to mind. For me it is because of nearly any PC can run wow. I have three accounts here in my house(Mine, wife, and son) and we play with brothers, grown up son, and other friends. So it is a lowest common denomiator type thing and a social thing. I am getting Guild Wars 2, but only one of my three PC will be able to even run that game. And there lies the problem.

    Cutting edge tech is nice, but not when you can’t play it. No way my group of friends and family can all play even Rift, let alone GW2.

    So, we stick with wow.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Erthazus

    @6, Blizzcon Ofc.

    @7, Blizzcon can’t be without new announcements.
    wow expansion is at the beta stage already so there is nothing to show really.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. DSB

    @5 So do you have any stats on how many people are still playing Diablo 3? Most of the people I know are sick of it already.

    Blizzard can’t keep releasing games with that many mistakes and idiosyncrasies and still expect to be held in the same regard.

    Most games let me change the difficulty through the menu. Diablo 3 makes me play the game 4 times before I get to where I want to be. It’s just mindnumbingly retarded :P

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Erthazus

    @9, ofc i don’t. But who cares? Blizzard got 6.5 million sales on the PC “At Launch”.
    6.5 million is a record. Diablo is not even close to WoW popularity.

    I remember when Blizzard announced Starcraft II in south Korea with just a logo. Ladies in front of the logo cried like crybabies.

    When Mark Morhaime or some lead designer will announce a logo (new MMO) at this Blizzcon, people will die there, not just cry.

    It will be a new sales record and people will buy it even if there will be a sign “It’s shit. Don’t buy it!”

    #10 3 years ago
  11. TheBlackHole

    I’m just going to throw this out there… RuneScape.

    It’s older than WoW, updated every week, is regularly going through major game engine upgrades and is just about to hit its 200 millionth account (total, not active). It’s also just launched a beta for a combat rework where its (apparently) received several hundred thousand applicants.

    I’m not saying it’s any good (I don’t play it), but whenever people mention important MMOs I always hear WoW, GW, the usual suspects. How does a game amass 200m accounts and still fly under everyone’s radar?

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Johnny Cullen

    @Erth – No chance. No Blizzcon this year for a start.

    They could announce it at a Worldwide Invitational, I suppose, but as I said earlier this year, Blizzard wouldn’t want to announce it anywhere else but BC.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Erthazus

    @12, no Blizzcon? I’m wrong then…

    Well, Jesus will be next year i guess.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. DSB

    Next year in Jerusalem?

    #14 3 years ago
  15. OlderGamer

    @Erth, yep. Just makes sense.

    @DSB, I stoped playing it too. D3 doesn’t have the same kind of legs that D2 did, for me, imo, of course. The sputering servers and launch trouble wasn’t really a facter for me. I didn’t enjoy that, but could put up with it if the game rocked my world. But Diablo III didn’t really ever grab me.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. roadkill

    Erth is right. People will whore themselves out to play Titan no matter how bad it will be.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. TheWulf

    Eh. I don’t buy this. But not because I don’t believe the article writer, but more because I know that there are other factors here which aren’t being covered. I’ll explain.

    I had a friend whom I introduced to Champions Online. For the first few hours he was running into things and had trouble navigating via the minimap. Within a few months hew was just as good as I was.

    The fact of the matter is is that GW2 is as intuitive as CO, if you’re having trouble then you’re over-thinking it. That’s all there is to it. In fact, Guild Wars 2 makes this even easier for you at the beginning because you have only one ability, and it’s an auto-attack. If that’s not guiding you gently into the fold, I don’t know what is.

    You actually unlock other abilities on the field as you progress, you don’t need to go to a trainer or anything. You can unlock them whenever and wherever you are. And the tutorials slowly walk you through the process of doing so.

    So all I can say is that you were likely over-thinking it and expecting it to be more complicated than it actually was.

    This reminds me of the first time I gave my gran a tablet, versus her old notebook. She was so confused and dithered around, she actually began to panic. I had her calm down, then I asked her what she thought would be the right action to take to get what she wanted.

    The first thing she chose was actually the correct one.

    It’s self doubt that does this, and you work yourself up to believing that something is way more complicated than it is. You have one button that smashes stuff. You smash stuff and you stay alive. But it can’t be that easy, right? It can’t be as easy as those LEGO games, right? It’s an MMORPG, it has to be tougher than that. It has to be!

    Except it isn’t. You have one button. You walk up to something and you press the button. You don’t even need to target that something if you’re a melee character.

    Outside of the tutorial, things heat up, and you have to learn to dodge. The tutorial points out that double-tapping a direction key gets you out of damage. How do you know where damage is? There are these terribly obvious circles on the ground, they are red. Red means bad. In fact, many on forums have complained that GW2 hand holds too much. That it’s too casual.

    So if you’re having problems with it, you’re having them because you’re over-thinking it. You have one button at the start. Walk up to something and press your button. Are you dying? Double-tap A or D.

    Not rocket science.

    I don’t doubt your intelligence here, don’t get me wrong. That’s not the point of this post. But I find that people who’re new to a particular kind of game, device, or experience instantly believe that they’re out of their depth, and they work themselves up to believing that it has to be this big, massively complicated thing.

    And that the truth on the monitor in front of them (that they have just one button to press) can’t possibly be true.

    Except it is.

    Sometimes you just have to take the dive and press the button you think you’re meant to press. 99.9% of the time, you’ll be doing exactly the right thing, regardless of your doubts.

    — EDIT —-

    And I don’t mean for this to be condescending, I really don’t, but I never cease to be amazed at how people panic like that at the most simple of tasks.

    It’s like when you put a gamepad in the hands of someone who’s never played. Put the most simple game in the world in front of them and they’ll panic, put down the game at first, and claim that they’re terrible with technology. It’s not until you convince them to set aside their self doubt and to try doing the things they think they’re supposed to be doing that they begin to enjoy themselves.

    As a tech nerd with a big family and range of friends, I’ve seen a repetition of this more times than I could count. I mean, if I had a pound for every time I had to help someone through this… well, I’d have enough for a top of the range computer with all the accessories right now, probably.

    It’s just silly, but it’s true.

    And that’s exactly what I saw when I read the article. You don’t need to panic and run for the manual. There’s a button there that says 1 on it. It’s your only button. Do your best to navigate yourself to a foe, then hit 1. That’s it.

    If that’s too hard, it’s not because you’re dumb or terrible, but it’s because you’ve managed to convince yourself these things by over-thinking the scenario.

    Just the same as when I gave my gran her first tablet.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. jdfoster00

    2 words and 1 number: GW2

    Also to people saying nothing sells on pc… I think F2P market is in BOOM…. I mean look at companies like TQ didgital, Aeria etc etc… Making huge sums of money from F2P games and have a huge install base… (conquer online going 10 years strong!

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Joe_Gamer

    My least favorite part of MMO’s is trawling forums for all that extra information on how to play(crafting systems are notoriously obtuse), it’s like a delightful little mini-game, “here’s our shiny new MMO, now go waste…er…uh…INVEST valuable hours of your life sifting through the excrement of our user base for all the information we couldn’t be assed to put in the game!”.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Puggy

    Hm, I would not compare Diablo 3 to your average Singleplayer game. Mostly because (I imagine) you can’t pirate it that easily, since some of the Mob data is stored server side. So you have to pull off a private server in order to get your pirated version to run. Then again I could be wrong, it’s just what I imagine.

    Any yeah, nobody cares about how many people still play D3, they bought the game, transaction is over, Blizzard gets nothing but trafic costs of more people are playing the game. Well that and maybe a cut on the RMAH.

    As for titan, well that one will be an interesting beast. It might work if people can iport their characters with max level and max equipment, friendlists crafting stuff and all over. But if it is a new game, where everyone has to start from scratch, I doubt it will be as popular as people believe right away.

    It’s like sports. People play soccer. Not because it is good, but because everyone is playing it, and most people feel the need to be like others, cmopetet with them and be better. There are games or sports that might sound better, but as long as it is not popular, nobody cares.

    As for the Interface, I have to agree with Wulf. Most of the time when designing new software you spend thinking about how to make it most obvious, most intuitive for the user. Companies do not have time and money to pay for weeks of tutoring their whole crowd of employees anymore, and since it is so easy at work, people want it at home too. If I have to enter a three button combination to make my character move, well, that would not work anymre (remember the C64 times when you had to put a paper instruction over your keyboard to know what button does what? Starting your helicoptor you had to activate turbine one, two, coenct to rotors, increase rotation slowly….)
    Nowadays designer look at the most popular games of that genre, how are the default controlls and try to use them. Most games will start with space bar or “p” as pause keys. Nobody would try Strg-alt-rShift-w for pause.
    It is I guess state of the art. Turning your steering wheel left, makes your car move left. Pressing your w key makes your POV or Character move into the direction they are facing.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. Strawb

    I’m guessing the author of this article uses the words “ten years” loosely, since it’s only been eight years since WoW was released.

    That being said, while it can be argued that the MMO scene has not really seen any innovation, I would say GW2 at least tries to take a whack at it.

    And I can’t help but think there’s a limit to what can be innovated in the MMO genre. Some games have switched to using the mouse more when fighting, which can be called innovation. Other games are giving more freedom, and true impact on the game world.
    But the overall gameplay remains the same, and I think that’s important to a lot of people.
    And risk-taking isn’t really something we see in the AAA game industry much.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. Kabby

    Article about WoW: Check.

    TheWulf is in the comments section writing a lengthy beatdown while sneakily shilling for GW2. Check.

    All is normal on VG247: Check

    #22 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    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 […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition Jaws of Hakkon DLC drops for PS4 on May 26

    Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC has now been announced for May 26 for PS3, PS4 and Xbox 360. The announcement was made on Twitter via the official Dragon Age account. Mark your calendars! #DAIJawsOfHakkon pic.twitter.com/mU1WfkSrQV — Dragon Age (@dragonage) May 1, 2015 The DLC was released for PC and Xbox One back in March thanks to […]

  • New Witcher 3 screenshots highlight Geralt’s questionable fashion choices

    Even though The Witcher 3 release date is drawing closer, it still feels like a million year away. So here are some more screenshots to tide you over until then. We got to look at in-game shots yesterday, but these new screens show Geralt riding through some gorgeously vibrant mountains, in the midst of combat […]

  • Sims Gurus patch out pregnant men

    Say goodbye to The Sims 4 unique take on fatherhood, as The Sims Gurus confirm that male pregnancies are no more. The Sims 4 players have been reporting high numbers of alien abductions, leaving their male characters with sore bottoms and a bellyful of alien baby. Kotaku reports that not everyone was getting their knickers […]

  • Black Mesa countdown probably points to Half-life remake release date

    Half-life remake Black Mesa may have a release date at last. Black Mesa is a Source Engine remake of the original Half-life, which like everything related to Half-life feels like it’s taking forever to come out. The first part launched in September 2012, and it looks like we might have a release date for the […]

  • Spector puts down rumours of troubled Epic Mickey development

    Epic Mickey seemed like a surprising follow-up project from the man who made Deus Ex, but Warren Spector has put down rumours of a difficult relationship with Disney. Epic Mickey displays several qualities found in Spector’s other games and which he has always espoused in interviews – heck, this is the man whose dream it […]

  • 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.