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The Secret World’s first hours: on mystery and thrills

Thursday, 5 July 2012 09:50 GMT By Patrick Garratt

The first few hours of The Secret World are thrilling and baffling in equal measure, and potentially point to the first genuine MMO breakthrough in years. Patrick Garratt takes his zombie hammer to Kingsmouth.

It’s too early to judge. The servers are juddery and there are some obvious bugs right now. It needs more of a tutorial and some proper group tools, but in truth? I enjoyed the opening sequences of The Secret World more than any other MMO I can remember.

Funcom released Conspiracy MMO The Secret World yesterday, birthing a quirky online game attempting to reinvent the genre’s wheel.

The Secret World is contemporary horror-fantasy. The premise is that three factions operate in the background to everyday life, battling evil and each other just beneath the surface of your day-to-day existence. The shadows are encroaching on normality, though, and a war’s emerged in which the actions of the London-based Templars, the Illuminati from New York, and the Dragons from Seoul will shape the future of mankind.

Twinkies

Starting from the top, character creation’s pretty basic. You get to choose skin and eye colour, nose, lips, jaw, hair and clothes. It’s nowhere near as in-depth as an offline RPG. You have to be chiselled and muscly. It seems reasonable that you’re not going to save the universe by eating too many Twinkies, but I created a couple of male characters and it was tough to stop them looking generic.

My main Templar, named “CrazyAsses” for no good reason, starts by dreaming black and white characters are telling him about “voices”. He wakes to find himself a psychic nutter capable of trashing his apartment by looking at it. After a week of practice, he can lob a ball of energy around and not freak out so much. A Templar visits. CrazyAsses had been “chosen,” and unless he joins up his glowing hands are going to cause him problems. So he does.

The start area of a London street signals The Secret World’s intent of dropping you into real-world mystery. It’s refreshing be a million miles away from WoW. Once through a police cordon – helped by a DI who’s in on the conspiracy – you’re filled in on a terrorist attempt in Tokyo. You see a puppeteer spouting doom, waving a king marionette, ranting about the warm smell of “stale piss”. You collapse.

After inhabiting the body of a Templar called Sarah, you’re thrown into a mission called Ground Zero, a dreamlike experience of the aftermath of the Tokyo subway attack.

This is a taster event. Missions are split into “tiers”. Tier 1 of Ground Zero is to get a gun, which is lying on the floor in front of you. Tier 2 is to clear a platform of enemies, and so on. You have to work through the subway system, killing as you go. It’s good. You click on “accept” and the gun shines yellow on the floor. On-screen prompts leave you in no doubt as to what to do. Combat is intense, and the game doesn’t give you much time to get used to it. Targeting’s with tab and the camera’s standard MMO. Abilities are on the number keys. You can shoot, fire a couple of heavier shots, heal yourself and others. You get mobbed by shadows and brutish large things which take a good deal of beating.

You end by walking onto the last platform and seeing planets and asteroids before collapsing again and reverting to your own character. You’re being bombed with story at this point, and go to see Richard Sonnac in Templar HQ in central London. A spell in “the Crucible,” a training ground in which you select a weaponset, gives you a look at the various starting kits. You have the ability to maifest anima, you’re told, “to do magic”.

Sonnac burbles about Solomon Island and the Illuminati, the “reckless” faction in the game, before you trundle off to Kingsmouth, The Secret World’s first main area.

The whole experience is filmic. Load screens colour from black and white then fade out as bars fill, and the in-engine cut-scenes do a good job of keeping you intrigued. The general character and inventory interfaces are really nice, with slots for talismans, weapons, stats, and all the rest of it eminating from your avatar in annotated rays.

Aside from the setting and modern UI, though, the real difference in The Secret World if the classless levelling. As you fight, you acquire Skill Points and Ability points (SP and AP). Instead of being as “assassin” or a “soldier” you’re just you. You put your skill points into weapon proficiency. CrazyAsses has a hammer, so he’s used points to increase hammer damage. You need to add SP to certain categories to be able to use objects. To equip a talisman, for example, you need to have at least one SP in the Major Talisman line on the skill interface.

AP is spent on new abilities. You buy new icons for your hot-bar as you move along. CrazyAsses has a Haymaker move, for example, for smashing the enemy scum all up in the face with his hammer. There’s a “Decks” system so you can pick what essentially amounts to a class and work towards it. You click on the Deck you’re after and it shows you where to put your points if you’re trying to make a Warlock of a Witch Hunter.

The progression system’s exciting stuff – if unintuitive; it wasn’t until Brenna led me through how to allocate AP that it made any sense – but after a few hours in Kingsmouth there does appear to be a giant flaw in the plan: grouping seems to be really hard.

CrazyAsses no mates

The progression system’s exciting stuff – if unintuitive; it wasn’t until Brenna led me through how to allocate AP that it made any sense – but after a few hours in Kingsmouth there does appear to be a giant flaw in the plan: grouping seems to be really hard. Unless I’m missing something blindingly obvious, there’s no casual grouping system. You have a Friends interface and stuff for your Cabal (guild), but there doesn’t seem to be a way of just quickly finding someone with which to overcome Mr Slightly Too-Hard Monster. A cursory search suggests this is the case, and it’s going to be patched in later. General server chat’s a heavy stream of “LFG” on Grim, and Brenna said the same of Cerberus. I’ve tried to group with a bunch of people standing around in Kingsmouth, for example, just to have the requests instantly rejected. Maybe it’s because I’m called CrazyAsses, but even so, this seems pretty odd considering the entire point of the game is to get together to win.

One neat thing TSW does do, though, is allow friends to “zone” to each other across servers. Brenna popped over to Grim to hold my hand through a bunch of the early missions, and it works well, but not being able to just find a quick partner for a mission lift doesn’t seem very sensible.

It’s too early to judge, however. The servers are juddery and there are some obvious bugs right now. It needs more of a tutorial and some proper group tools, but in truth? I enjoyed the opening sequences of The Secret World more than any other MMO I can remember. It’s thoughtfully-paced, exciting, and it looks lovely. There’s no way I could say for certain it’s a stayer (the group issue’s a massive alarm bell, especially now I’m running into missions which are tough to solo), but on first impressions the final product’s a funny, thrilling attempt to drag the MMO into contemporary territory, and it definitely has succeeded in an entirely new take on levelling. Based on that alone we should all be tooling up to quash the mysterious forces of evil right now. The world won’t save itself, you know.

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13 Comments

  1. BULArmy

    I am getting my copy today, but maybe will be able to play first on Sunday. I have huge hopes, as I had with AoC(in my view the only MMO close to disturbing WoW). AoC had a lot of problems with middle to late game content, as with the bugs and that killed it, but still is one of the different MMOs. I hope Funcom solved those problems, because I am sick of all the generic fantasy MMO setings, the concept here is absolutely amazing.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    It’s a lot of fun. The setting’s brilliant.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. brento73

    Although I don’t have the free time of money to pick it up at launch, I did get the chance to get in on some beta events, and I think the game is pretty cool. Although I experienced some bugs and issues, and the grouping isn’t as easy as I’d like(as mentioned above), the game world feels unique amid the sea of Tolkien-inspired fantasy games. I can only think of a few MMORPGs that didn’t have a setting similar to EverQuest(or Ulitma Online before that), and those haven’t done real well. Given that one non-fantasy game that started off a bit rocky, but went on to stick around for the long-haul was Funcom’s own Anarchy Online, I have high hopes for TSW. Since I’d really love to play it down the road, I REALLY want it to be a hit.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. DSB

    I think you’re overlooking a few things Pat.

    Champions had much the same system for levelling (somewhat clunkier with trainers etc. but still very free) and Conan was ultimately quite a pretty game as well, but it didn’t do them a whole lot of good, because ultimately they didn’t have proper endgame.

    There’s very little to distinguish The Secret World from those two, especially Champions, based on what I played during the beta.

    I think the thrill you’re talking about is a very basic one, that probably only counts if you haven’t played those other ones, which I think a great deal of the core MMO audience will have.

    And ultimately it doesn’t last. I really liked that Champions was more actiony and scripted with guns and spells and all kinds of craziness, but ultimately there wasn’t a lot to really use it on besides the grind, just like there isn’t in The Secret World.

    A successful MMO isn’t about the short term, it’s about the long term, and while I haven’t played The Secret World for very long, I didn’t see any indication that it had much beyond the grind.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Patrick Garratt

    @4 – I did play Champions. Did you not have a level in that? I bounced off it, to be honest. TSW’s loads better.

    I didn’t play Conan, because I was fantasied out. I’ve just moved on to the second TSW area. We’ll see if there’s enough there to keep things interesting soon enough, I guess.

    It definitely is a lot of fun. The story could go on forever, assuming there’s enough interest. I’m crossing my fingers, but I’m really enjoying it at the moment.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. DSB

    @5 Yeah you did, and it did make you go through trainers and all that, but it had the same kind of freedom that you do in The Secret World. If you wanted to be all guns and magic, you could.

    But just like The Secret World, the degree to which the game rewarded it was very shoddy.

    It’s not a bad MMO, but I just think it takes more than a decent one to really make a mark these days. It is a big step up from Conan on Funcoms part, but I don’t see how it will make people run from the MMOs with more solid dungeons and endgame.

    You should do a follow up once you max out. I think that’s really the kicker when it comes to MMOs.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Patrick Garratt

    @6 – Yeah, I will. Brenna’s keen on it, so I think we’ll be playing it a bit internally. I’m definitely interested in seeing how long it’ll keep me going for.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Phoenixblight

    What I find fun in Secret World is the investigations and fantastic environments. I would just get to high level just so I could explore all areas but I won’t pay a sub just for those two things.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. GwynbleiddiuM

    @8 Well TBH I don’t think it’ll last long. I don’t wish em ill but I think eventually people will start to want more rewarding experience, more stuff to do and when those demands aren’t met with proper content things will start to fall apart. TSW doesn’t even have a proper FAQ on their website yet, there are no alternative payment options like game cards as far as I know cause when I’m going to play a p2p mmo I need that option as I don’t have credit card or paypal due to international sanctions. So I think they wont last long based on my personal experience and I played a lot of different MMOs in the past including both Champions and AoC from Funcom.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Kabby

    Doesn’t interest me and seems clunky in everything it does. I await your follow-up article in 3 months time.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. TheWulf

    Will wonders never cease? I actually completely agree with DSB.

    Champions Online is a marvel of a game (heh), and it’s really enjoyable. I loved the customisation, I truly enjoyed being my own hero, but what plagued it was that they didn’t have enough variety in the content. And what variety they did have wasn’t easily repeatable, so you’d blow through these fun bits and then you’d be left with the grind. And that was playing it casually.

    I still love Champions Online, don’t get me wrong. I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to try an MMORPG because it’s a brilliant game, and in a lot of ways it’s almost GW2. It’s clever, it’s thoughtful, and it has a lot going for it. But ultimately the way they designed it, so akin to traditional MMORPGs, is what doomed it.

    What had the potential to save Champions Online came too late.

    They added adventure packs and comic series. The first one, the Serpent Lantern, was terribad. I’ll admit that. But the rest of them? Demonflare, Resistance, and the comic series? Brilliant! Brilliant! Now… what would have saved Champions Online? If the whole game had been like those adventure packs and comic series.

    But they understood that too late. Maybe Champions Online 2 will…

    Who knows.

    But what makes a game enjoyable is if you have content that one or more people can enjoy with as small amount of drama and mechanics overhead as possible, and you want to let them enjoy this content whenever. This is why Guild Wars 2 works, and this is why it’s basically CO++. It’s Champions Online done right.

    The events, both renown (heart) and dynamic are clever.

    They’re clever because you’re not playing the UI. You don’t need to group with people, you don’t need armchair generals, you don’t need drama. You can just hop into this crazy shit as it’s happening. See people invading a town? You can jump in to help stop that, and you can even fail.

    How is this relevant? You can play whatever events whenever you want.

    Levels don’t matter. You get rewarded according to your current level, anyway, and numbers don’t matter because your power is matched to the content you’re doing. So whether you win or lose is very much an element of your skill. A level 80 character could fail at a level 10 event.

    So if you get bored of doing events in areas which are designated as level 80, you can go and do events which are designated as level 10. You’ll get rewarded for it in ways which are very relevant to you as well.

    In this way, the entire game is end-game.

    It’s clever, really clever. Let’s say that there’s this event you liked playing as a level 40 character, yeah? You can go back and play that event at level 60 and have a blast with it until you’re done with that, and you can do that without anything getting screwed up. And you receive the same level of challenge at level 60 that you did at level 40.

    Now, the adventure packs and comic series of Champions Online also scaled like this, but they were instanced. Which is a damned shame.

    Guild Wars 2 is like an entire game of CO’s comic series and adventure packs, except set in the open world where everyone who’s in the area can take part in them and be rewarded for them in meaningful ways. It takes the good ideas of Champions Online and builds upon them, and it fixes them, and builds the entire game upon the basis of good ideas.

    The problem with a game like TSW is that it’s traditional. You’ll blow through the good content, and people will get in your way and annoy you when you’re trying to do that (adventure games are usually very personal experiences), then you’ll pass all that content and what’s left to you?

    You grind. You grind. You grind. You grind some more. Because all you have left is the combat.

    I want to see more games being clever like GW2, where people are encouraged to play together, but where the older content of the game never becomes irrelevant. Guild Wars 2 is end-game, all of it is end-game. It’s end-game from level 1 to level 80, it’s designed that way. That’s why GW2 wins. CO came so damned close but it didn’t get enough right. GW2 does. If GW2 becomes the new MMORPG standard, I will be very happy.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. TheWulf

    Also, Pat… come on. You know TSW has a level as well as I do, it’s just not explicitly explained as a level. It’s a level that’s obfuscated.

    Area A: The monsters in this area are easy, you need only two skills to do well.
    Area B: The monsters in this area are harder, you’d need at least five skills to do well.
    Area C: The monsters in this area are much harder, you’d need a good variety of skills to do well.
    Area D: If you don’t have the right skills and powered up in the right way, the monsters here will slaughter you.

    Area A: Level 1
    Area B: Level 5
    Area C: Level 20
    Area D: Level 50

    It might not implicitly state a level, but there is one there. It’s measured instead though but the amount of skills you have and how powered up they are. It’s just that you get those skills and upgrades more intermittently (Guild Wars 2 also does this with its skill unlocks and weapons) instead of it being linked into a level.

    But the level-gating is still present on TSW’s content. It’s painfully obvious that level-gating is there. Just because it isn’t called a level, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a level system in place there. A level basically means X Amount of Power, and that philosophy is firmly in place in TSW.

    If you want an example of a game without level-gating, look at Ultima Online or Minecraft. In those games if you’re careful you can go wherever you want. This is absolutely not true about The Secret World. It’s just a really pretty con, it’s a clever con that people want to believe.

    But levels and level-gating are alive and well in TSW. Obfuscation thereof is irrelevant.

    And what makes it worse is that it’s going to hard for people to group up since you can’t explicitly say what level an area is, you can only try and compare what skills a person has and how powered up they are. People are going to get sick of that fast.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. absolutezero

    I bought The Secret World for Ragnar tornquist and little else. Im enjoying taking my time going through the story, which is actually somewhat interesting.

    I made a girl that looks real.

    Actually she kinda looks alot like Sue Perkins. D:

    #13 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    The first print run of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will come with the Wii version packed in, NIS America has confirmed. The publisher confirmed today in a press release that anyone who buys the first run of the retail version of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will find the Wii […]

  • Unreal Tournament 4 lets modders sell cosmetic items to players

    Unreal Tournament 4 is a game built with the help of the modding community. So it’s only natural that it will feature a marketplace where all cosmetic items can be sold. Epic Games has confirmed that it will allow modders from the community to sell the cosmetics items they’ve created on the game’s marketplace. The […]

  • D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is coming to PC – rumour

    SWERY 65 has shown off D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die running on PC at GDC this week, teasing that a possible port may be on the way. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is SWERY 65′s latest project. An episodic detective affair, D4 came out on Xbox One last September and utilised Kinect as its main […]

  • Valve’s Lighthouse, VR controllers and more explained

    Valve’s less-talked about prototype VR controllers and its Lighthouse technology have been shown in more detail. When HTC announced Vive, the VR headset it’s working on with Valve, it mentioned “base stations” and ergonomic controllers. Now we know what they meant by that. The controllers are still in prototype phase, and will look better when […]

  • Listen to two professional Counter-Strike players explain why Dust2 is so popular

    Hear what makes iconic Counter-Strike map Dust2 one of the most popular maps in shooter history from two former eSports players. Sal “Volcano” Garozzo and Shawn “FMPONE” Snelling are both retired professional Counter-Strike players who are currently working as designers. At GDC this year, the pair hosted a panel titled “Community Level Design for Competitive […]

  • Core Morpheus hardware locked in, no plans for wireless version

    Sony has finalised the core hardware for its VR headset Project Morpheus, and does not currently plan on releasing a wireless version. SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida spoke to Gamespot at GDC and confirmed that the core hardware of Morpheus is “pretty much done” but that “lots of tweaks and improvements” are still being […]

  • Watch the full Phil Spencer keynote from GDC 2015

    The full GDC 2015 keynote of Xbox boss Phil Spencer is now available to watch. In case you missed last nights’s Phil Spencer keynote at GDC 2015, the whole thing has been made available to watch on YouTube. The address is titled “The Future of Gaming Across the Microsoft Ecosytem,” and it’s where Spencer announced […]

  • Elite: Dangerous won’t be “dumbed down” for Xbox One

    The Xbox One version of Elite: Dangerous will in fact be the same as the PC one. Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier came out on stage last night at GDC to announce the game making its console debut on Xbox One. Some have feared that the port would not provide the same experience as the PC […]

  • Virtual reality: by gum, it’s really happening

    Virtual reality has exited the realm of peripheral gimmick and turned into something that just might go mainstream. VR has an uphill battle ahead of it. The tech is going to be expensive, and there are a number of problems that need to be solved before it could be considered an inclusive technology (motion sickness, […]

  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor takes Game of the Year at GDC Awards 2015

    And the winner is: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor beat out Alien: Isolation, Bayonetta 2, Destiny, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to win Game of the Year at the Game Developer’s Choice Awards 2015. Elsewhere in the awards, Ustwo’s mobile hit Monument Valley was a stand-out favourite, with wins in the Innovation, […]

  • Alien: Isolation was prototyped in third-person – video

    Alien: Isolation is one of the most effectively scary triple-A games in years, but it didn’t start off a perfect creation of pure terror. Creative Assembly prototyped Alien: Isolation in third-person perspective before they nailed down the final approach. The developer revealed this during a GDC 2015 presentation, and it’s a good reminder that games […]

  • Madden 15 added to EA Vault

    Madden 15 is now included in EA’s all-you-can-eat subscriber service. Madden 15 is the ninth game to be added to the EA Vault, a stash of games available on demand for EA Access subscribers. It's still Madden Season for EA Access members – Madden NFL 15 is now in The Vault for all members. Go […]

  • Source Engine 2 doesn’t have hidden costs or royalties – but is Steam exclusive

    Three major engines went free at GDC 2015, and each of them is monetising in a different way. There’s been a heck of a lot of discussion about development tools and the costs associated with them during GDC 2015. First Epic announced that Unreal Engine 4 would be free, bar royalities on successful releases. Then […]

  • Final Fantasy creator hates sequels

    Final Fantasy, a byword in prolific franchises, was created by a man who hates sequel. Final Fantasy games are famous for being reinvented with each core release, and it was not until series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi began to withdraw from the franchise after Final Fantasy 9 that we started seeing regular sequels and spin-offs. Speaking […]

  • Guardian complaints led to the closure of Destiny’s Loot Cave

    Destiny players are to blame for the shuttering of the much loved Loot Cave. Early in Destiny‘s history, many players got hugely excited about the “Loot Cave”. Accessible shortly after starting the game for the first time, this high-volume spawn point allowed players to stand in one place, taking out waves and waves of low-level […]

  • Xbox and PC games boss Phil Harrison to leave Microsoft – rumour

    Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business VP and EMEA head of games Phil Harrison is rumoured to have thrown in the towel. Microsoft has not issued a statement on Harrison’s alleged departure, despite repeated questioning by press at GDC 2015. Instead, word comes via multiple sources speaking to GamesIndustry at the show. According to the rumours, Harrison […]

  • Metal Gear Online commentated trailer explains stuffed dog – but not invisibility

    Metal Gear Online developer Kojima Productions has provided significantly more insight into how the multiplayer side of The Phantom Pain works. Metal Gear Online is the online multiplayer component of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Konami hasn’t shared a great deal about it yet, but we did see a very cool Metal Gear […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Xbox One trailer shows off space MMO

    If Elite: Dangerous looks this good on Xbox One we have nothing to complain about. Microsoft revealed Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One this year during its GDC presentations today. We don’t know very much about the port, but I suppose we ought to have expected it; Frontier Developments has a very close relationship […]

  • Battletoads to appear in Shovel Knight Xbox One

    A Battletoads remake must be on the horizon. Right? Right?? The Battletoads will appear in the upcoming Xbox One version of Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games revealed today. The Battletoads drop in for a fight! Shovel Knight is headed to Xbox One and meets up with @RareLtd brawling trio! pic.twitter.com/OCQIuWbH3W — Yacht Club Games (@YachtClubGames) […]

  • The Division pre-alpha footage leaks, Ubisoft says it’s well out of date

    The Division fans finally got a look at Ubisoft’s MMO this week, but the publisher has said the footage is not in any way representative. Pre-alpha footage of the The Division was leaked this week, but has since been thoroughly smacked down by takedown notices. All that remains are a few screenshots and a GIF: […]

  • Microsoft HoloLens designer killed in hit and run accident

    Very sad news out of Redmond this week, as Mike Ey was killed in a tragic accident. Ey, 30, was one of the key project designers on Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset. He was killed on Saturday morning in a rear-end collision. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene but was tracked down by […]

  • AMD throws support behind VR with new low-latency anti-nausea tech

    GPU manufacturer AMD has released a new SDK compatible with “a broad set of VR devices”. Called LiquidVR, the tech is designed to “bring better content, comfort, and compatibility to VR applications” including games, simulation, entertainment, education, social media, travel, medicine, real estate and ecommerce, apparently. AMD said maintaining comfort and realism in VR environments […]

  • Danganronpa 3 in the works, but a long way off yet

    A new Danganronpa is happening. Danganronpa 3 is in the very, very early production stages, writer Kodaka Kazutaka has confirmed. Nothing about the project is “set in stone”, Kazutaka told Polygon, so there are no details to share yet; the characters and story may change several times before being finalised. The writer said he’s weighing […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League 2015 schedule announced

    Major League Gaming has announced the full schedule for the 2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League. The eSpots firm revealed two more seasons of Pro League, a live Relegation tournament for Season Three, and a season ending World Championship with $250,000 up for grabs You can watch all the action on MLG.tv […]

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation 2, you are almost old enough to drive

    Amidst all the GDC 2015 hoopla today, we forgot to wish PlayStation 2 a Happy Birthday. The system turned 15 years old today, going by its March 4, 2000 launch date in Japan. It was released in the west that autumn, and had shipped 100 million units in less than six years post launch. PS2 […]

  • Here’s what the final version of Valve’s Steam Controller looks like

    A look at the updated Steam Controller has surfaced via a hands-on post from Polygon. Valve said what you see in the images below is the final version of the controller. The controller has gone through numerous revisions since it was first revealed, but it seems Valve has decided on two touch pads which work […]

  • The Sims, SimCity developer closed down

    The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been shuttered, EA has confirmed. The Sims, SimCity and the rest of the Sim franchise has traditionally been helmed by Maxis, which had its flagship studio in Emeryville, California. Now EA has confirmed with Kotaku that this studio is being closed. “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to […]

  • Gigantic MOBA coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One with cross-play

    Today during GDC 2015, Microsoft announced that the new IP from Motiga called Gigantic will be cross-play enabled. Slated for Windows 10 and Xbox One, the five-on-five third-person battle arena game allows the player to select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles. Players will then make their way through areas […]

  • Here’s a look at Unreal Tournament DirectX 12 gameplay

    Epic Games is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which Microsoft says “sets a new bar for visual fidelity.” DirectX 12 is a single API developers can access across Windows devices, which can result in a 20% improvement in performance over DX11 running on the same machine. The Unreal Tournament […]

  • Wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers out later this year

    Microsoft announced at GDC 2015 today it will that all wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, a wireless adapter will be released, allowing current Xbox controllers and future devices to be used wirelessly on PCs. This will […]

  • Microsoft offers up more details on Spencer’s GDC 2015 talk

    Microsoft has provided more details on Cross-Buy functionality between Windows 10 and Xbox One as well as the Xbox Live SKU and other announcements made during Phil Spencer’s talk today. During the session, the head of Xbox shared “the next step” in the company’s plans for a unified platform across all Windows 10 devices which […]

  • Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 this summer

    Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 as a Game of the Year Edition. inXile Entertainment announced the news on the PS Blog, noting the edition contains enhancements and improvements. The game has been ported to Unity 5, which was announced over the weekend, providing upgraded visual effects, “improved character models, upgraded environments, and Unity […]

  • Cross-Buy detailed for Windows 10 and Xbox One; Elite: Dangerous coming to Xbox One

    During Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s session at GDC 2015 today, it was announced Elite: Dangerous would release on Xbox One. Spencer also outlined cross-buy functionality across Windows 10 and Xbox One. Spencer’s talk started off with Frontier Developments announcing Elite: Dangerous for release this summer as a console debut on Xbox One, suggesting the Elite: […]

  • Longbeards Culture Pack available now for Total War: Attila

    The Longbeards Culture Pack is now available for Total War: Attila and it comes with three new playable factions. The Langobards, the Burgundians and the Alamans can be played in both single and multiplayer campaign modes as well as custom and multiplayer battles. A new feature called The Lay of Ybor is also included. It […]

  • Nvidia unveils Titan X as world’s “most advanced GPU” – video

    Nvidia revealed Titan X as “the world’s most advanced GPU” during Epic founder Tim Sweeney’s State of Unreal session a t GDC 2015 today. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the stage during the panel stating it contains “8 billion transistors,” and has 12GB of RAM. Pricing wasn’t announced, but it was rumored back in January […]

  • Steam sale discounts titles announced for SteamOS

    With many of the year’s most popular games heading to SteamOS, Valve has decided to host sale in celebration. Here’s a short list of titles on sale. The full list of PC, Linux, Mac and SteamOS discounts can be found through the link. The Banner Saga Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Batman: Arkham […]

  • PayDay 2 announced for SteamOS, celebrating with franchise sale

    PayDay 2 is coming to SteamOS, Overkill has announced. Still under development, a release date will be announced at a later date. “Making sure PAYDAY 2 is available on SteamOS felt like a no-brainer,” said Bo Andersson Klint, CEO of Starbreeze in the press release. “With PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition coming to the next generation […]

  • Magicka 2 has a release date and a crazy new trailer

    Magicka 2 has a release date for PC and the PlayStation 4, and Paradox Interactive has released a trailer featuring “Vlad’s latest lyrical triumph,” which is his rendition of the Game of Thrones theme. Magicka arrived on PC and PS4 May 26 and the game can be pre-ordered on PC beginning today, with PS4 pre-orders […]

  • Nintendo eShop schedule: Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone, others

    Nintendo has sent over a list of titles heading to the eShop in 2015. The schedule contains titles such as Affordable Space Adventures, Runbow, Swords & Soldiers 2, Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. Below a preliminary list of games scheduled to launch in the Nintendo eShop on […]

  • Week 8: Can you win the weekly VG247 GTA Online playlist? Play tonight at 8pm UK time!

    We’re hotdogging tonight. I don’t even know what that means. Eight weeks of ridiculous death. Such a brave, true milestone. We’re going to celebrate two entire months of playing weekly GTA Online playlists with VG247 readers with Hotdogging, a set of six jobs I named completely at random. This one ends with a straight-up border […]

  • Puzzle platformer Four Sided Fantasy coming to PC, consoles in early 2016

    Curve Digital and developer Logan Fieth’s studio Ludo Land are bringing puzzle platformer, Four Sided Fantasy, to PC all major consoles in early 2016. Ludo Land are developing the PC version, with Curve Digital handling the console and Vita versions. Four Sided Fantasy tasks players with venturing across “dreamlike levels” by controlling and manipulating the […]

  • Tropico 5 arrives on PS4 in April – video

    A release date for Tropico 5 on PlayStation 4 has been announced. This is the franchise’s first foray onto PlayStation consoles. It arrived in Europe on April 24 and in North America on April 28. A Limited Edition has also been announced, and it includes The Big Cheese DLC and the Bayo Del Olfato sandbox […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain Limited Edition PS4 releasing in Asia

    A limited edition Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain PlayStation 4 system will be released in Asia. The system and its DualShock controller were designed in collaboration with Konami Digital Entertainment and targeted for the Asia region, per Gematsu. It will be released as part of PS4 Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain […]

  • This video shows Sid Meier’s Starships being played on iPad

    Sid Meier’s Starships will be released on iPad alongside Mac and PC, and to give you an idea on how it plays on the tablet, a new video has been released. Watch below as Pete Murray and lead producer Stuart Zissu show off the iPad version. The 4X space-strategy releases on March 12.

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood announced as standalone prequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a standalone prequel to The New Order, will release May 5 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The game takes pace in 1946, and and players take on the role of B.J. Blazkowicz as he embarks on a two-part mission in Bavaria. Part one, Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves, […]

  • Observer Mode coming soon to Evolve as a free update

    Observer Mode will be released for Evolve as a free update for all platforms, 2K and Turtle Rock have announced. The community feature was designed to give Evolve players the ability to observe and add commentary as well as livestream, allowing a sixth user to “passively enter a custom game” with the ability to switch […]

  • Dragon Quest Heroes and PS4 top Media Create charts in Japan

    The PlayStation 3 and PS4 skus for Dragon Quest Heroes were the top sellers on the Media Create charts in Japan, moving a combined 594,749 units. Elsewhere on the chart, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D was in third place with 39,751 units moved, and last week’s top seller, God Eater 2: Rage Burst, […]

  • Watch Hideo Kojima answer lots of your burning Phantom Pain questions

    What’s better than learning the official release date of MGS5: The Phantom pain? Hideo Kojima talking more about it, of course! Hideo Kojima has decided to answer a few fan questions about Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, to help boost everyone’s hype to insane levels. He talks about the game’s story, his relief […]

  • MGS5: The Phantom Pain Day 1 and Collector’s Edition revealed

    Konami has officially revealed the release date of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain alongside the game’s Day 1 and Collector’s Edition. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will release September 1, worldwide, as previously leaked. It will be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The PC Steam […]

  • EU Club Nintendo: Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds soundtrack back in stock

    Club Nintendo members in Europe can once again pick up The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds soundtrack. For 3000 Stars, members of the program will receive the double-CD soundtrack which features 89 tracks with liner notes from Ryo Nagamatsu and 12 sheet music excerpts. It also comes with 16 Milk Bar Musician pieces. […]

  • HTC apologises over “confusing” Half-Life VR comments

    HTC has misspoke when it talked about Half-Life coming to VR headset Vive. HTC chairwoman Cher Wang has apologised over the comments she made yesterday about the possibility of Half-Life coming to Vive, the VR headset it’s manufacturing with the help of Valve. Sources close to Valve, have indicated to the BBC that the developer […]

  • What do Heists and Daily Objectives tell us about the future of GTA Online?

    Daily Objectives could be more important to GTA Online than Heists. These theories and more, from a giddy Matt Martin. Yesterday Rockstar dropped a bombshell. Not only is it releasing Heists next week – the mythical 4-player missions for GTA Online – but it’s also going to be introducing daily challenges and more modes to […]

  • Breaking down Hardline Premium, is it worth it?

    Having been announced just a few days ago, the Premium service for Battlefield Hardline has been a topic of constant debate among the Battlefield community. Many look at Hardline as a Battlefield off-shoot that will just tide everyone over until Battlefront comes out in the fall. EA has other plans however, announcing a $50 Premium […]

  • Watch Dogs sold more than GTA 5 and FIFA 15 in Australia in 2014

    Watch Dogs outsold GTA 5, and FIFA 15, at retail in Australia last year. According to data obtained by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) from the NPD Group Australia, last year’s year retail sales charts look a bit different in Australia. The top-selling game was Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, followed by Watch […]

  • Watch PC footage of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from GDC 2015

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a new gameplay video available that shows a bit of action from the PC version. The video below was captured from Nvidia’s GDC conference live-stream. Developer CD Projekt RED was on hand to show off The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s graphical prowess running on a PC. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • Dying Light: Hard Mode and Ultimate Survivor Bundle out March 10

    Dying Light’s second DLC drop, the Ultimate Survivor Bundle, and the free Hard Mode, have been given a solid release date alongside a new trailer. Dying Light developer Techland has confirmed that the Ultimate Survivor Bundle, the game’s second DLC drop, will release March 10. The DLC is part of the season pass, but will […]