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The end is nigh: why we need a better brand of apocalypse

Thursday, 1 August 2013 11:45 GMT By Dave Cook

The apocalypse hasn’t even happened yet and VG247′s Dave Cook is already bored of it. Is the end of the world being flogged to ribbons or is there life after the downfall of humanity yet?

I was sitting down to write a news story about Tokyo Jungle Mobile last week and upon typing the words ‘post-apocalyptic’ I stopped and realised just how often that term appears in gaming today.

The apocalypse is a hot ticket right now. We’ve had warring comedy films This Is the End and The World’s End releasing just weeks apart, along with a fuck-ton of games based on the downfall of humanity this generation. The recent success of Naughty Dog’s harrowing The Last of Us shows that the subject is still of interest to many.

”If Ubisoft Massive really had the guts it’d close The Division with the end of the world anyway, just to show that sometimes, despite humanity’s best intent disaster cannot be averted and by our very nature we are a self-destructive species.”

What is it about our ultimate demise that appeals to so many people? I think a large part of it is this morbid curiosity we all have where we put ourselves there, right after the bombs have fallen or aliens have slaughtered the populace and we ask ourselves that big question:

“What would I do in that situation?”

Seriously though; if the taps stopped running or the zombie horde rolled into town right now what would you do? There’s a strange, almost sadistic thrill that comes with playing these scenarios out in your mind and I think this is what made the opening moments of The Last of Us both so blunt and memorable.

It’s also why TellTale’s first season of The Walking Dead proved so effective. It showed survivors in the middle of an unfolding cataclysm trying to delay the inevitable, hopeful in the belief that over the next hill they’d find some sort of salvation or cure to the problems at hand.

As the player you witness and try to resolve very real issues like food, water, medicine and figuring out who to trust, while the evidence begins to pile up that in reality, life can never go back to how it used to be. It’s an effective human story told in a world overrun with ghouls, and it shows that post-apocalyptic settings needn’t be heavy with guns to be memorable.

By contrast games like Fallout or Borderlands place you in ruined worlds long after the event and send you off into the wastes armed with many weapons and skills. They’re power fantasies where the every day struggles of humankind don’t really impact your levelled-up warrior, but at the end of the day there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this approach either.

In fact, I really love how Fallout 3 presented the Capital Wasteland, especially the ravaged opulence of downtown D.C. and while you can see evidence of life before The Great War, it’s a series that has largely focused on how humanity advances from that point, instead of looking back in regret. The same goes for Borderland’s Pandora, which has been so abused by corporations that the only thing left to do is survive and rebuild.

The freshly-announced Mad Max from Avalanche Studios looks like it will fall into this category as well, with all of its applications of knees on chin and high-speed car battles. It looks perfectly fun but I think I’m growing slightly tired of this brand of action-packed apocalypse. I want the pathos, I want the human stories and I want to be part of the downfall as it unfolds.

Perhaps the most interesting cataclysmic game I’ve seen in some time is Tom Clancy’s The Division. Sure, it might not focus on a global pandemic, but the premise of a deadly virus spread through tainted dollar bills in New York really appeals. It’s still a shooter but you’re working to contain the apocalypse as it starts to unfold in front of you, and to halt the spread of the disease before it causes America to collapse. That, to me sounds thrilling.

If Ubisoft Massive really had the guts it’d close The Division with the end of the world anyway, just to show that sometimes, despite humanity’s best intent disaster cannot be averted and by our very nature we are a self-destructive species. I’d absolutely love to see that happen. It’d be a bit like the twist ending of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines without the shit stuff beforehand.

Can you imagine an apocalyptic game that is basically the first half hour of The Last of Us made into a full release? If the story was written effectively it’d leave you constantly wondering if the collapse is about to be halted, but then it’d continually pull the rug out from beneath you.


Once Chance is a perfect example of what I mean. Play it here.

Would your trusted allies turn hostile if they realised that no matter what, the end is coming? Would they eventually betray you to preserve their own well-being? Would you be forced to kill that person if they turned on you? Where would you go? How would you find food? What is your place in this new, twisted place where judicial rule and social decency no longer apply?

To me the most interesting aspect of post-apocalyptic fiction is whenever a character looks back at the days of the big crisis and recalls their struggle to adapt to the savage new world unfolding around them. It’s this brutal transition that appeals to me most, but instead of looking back I’d like to play a game where I actually experience those painful moments as they happen.

The games industry has repeatedly shown that it can effectively create feelings of loss in players without resorting to hammy dialogue or thinly-veiled emotion. Look at the end of Shadow of the Colossus for one. Creating a story like this with maturity and provoking great emotional engagement in players absolutely can be done during an apocalyptic setting.

You can see an absolutely heart-breaking example of what I’m talking about in the compelling Newground flash game ‘One Chance‘, which places you as the only person who can avert the downfall of humanity as it unfolds. I won’t spoil what happens but once it’s over the game blocks your IP address meaning you can’t try again. It forces you to make tough, painful decisions with regularly upsetting consequences

I’d like to see studios take this approach and instil in us the pain of watching a character’s luxuries and loved ones slip away as the world decays around the player. We’d watch it happen reluctantly and slowly slide into a new, brutal form of existence without any say in the matter. I genuinely believe this could form the basis for a truly memorable apocalyptic experience.

Seriously industry; make it happen.

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17 Comments

  1. Talkar

    Nice article, and i would love to see some games take the suggested idea and just run with it.

    Also, damn you Dave for reminding me of Fallout 3 and how it is the second worst Fallout game xD

    #1 2 years ago
  2. GwynbleiddiuM

    ***SPOILERS ALERT***
    —just in case Clupula haven’t played any of these— :-”

    TBH Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins did a lot of that. So there are very bright examples of those entanglements you and I crave for Dave, granted not enough. The reason that I really liked KOTOR II – a lot – was in fact the bounds you created with the people around you as you went on to face Darth Nihilus. And how Bastila gave in to the Dark Side when Malak manipulation combined tortures made her into thinking that all is lost why not embracing it. Or in Neverwinter Nights when you lose Lady Aribeth, I felt loss and I felt that a lot during my gaming career, mostly BioWare is willing to do those things even if the the quality of their work has been deteriorating a bit lately.

    BioWare also did a lot with SWTOR’s story, like when you corrupt Jaesa Willsaam, it was the most fun I had in a video game. Or when Malavali Quinn betrays you and he admits that he regrets his treachery but seen that there’s no way you can defeat Darth Baras.

    So there are very great shinning examples out there but it is depressing that the source of these usually is either BioWare or sometimes Obsidian.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Talkar

    @2
    Those SWTOR moments were pretty good, i agree, but they could be soooo much more. With Jaesa you just force her to kill her master if memory serves me well. How fun wouldn’t it have been if you’d forced her to kill everyone she’s ever cared about? Or even do it yourself and then just watch her crack under the weight of it all and fully embracing the dark side?

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Un-HolyMOTHERofGOD

    It’s too early to read this much. I’ll try again later.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Dave Cook

    @4 Did that really warrant a comment? :P

    #5 2 years ago
  6. deathm00n

    Great article Dave! And I agree, more games about the apocalypse happening right before your eyes would be nice!

    Talking about apocalypse games, one thing that I always think about is that we don’t have many of them that uses a different timeline, or another place in time. Fallout for example uses a timeline where the tech evolved only to war and people are stuck in the 50s. Dark/Demon’s Souls was some sort of medieval apocalypse. But beside those two universes we don’t have many other examples. I would love to see a medieval world being torned apart by dragons (you may think of skyrim, but with more impact, burned fields, old citys being taken as dragon nests). Or the egypt society being destroyed by their gods. Ancient China and Japan being overrun by their folklore.

    There’s a lot of options to create post-apocalyptic worlds, but we are stuck with the “our age overrun by zombies”.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. GwynbleiddiuM

    @3 Well as far as I remember it was just like that when you were searching for her. You seek everyone she knows and do do evil things with them. It was immensely fun to watch her crack before Nomen Karr, muhahahahhahahaaaaaa… you see it tickles me still. :D

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Dave Cook

    @1 & 6 Thanks guys :)

    #8 2 years ago
  9. bradk825

    @5 that reminds me of friends who like to post to facebook that they are hungry. Nobody gives a flying %^#$& just go eat!

    Anyway, fantastic editorial Dave. I agree that the best stories that really draw me in involve a little pain and sense of loss. If you can make someone feel a sense of loss when they are in real life not losing anything, that’s pro-fucking-ffesional storytelling. I like the “disaster in unfolding” situation better than the “there was a disaster and now there’s us” formula.

    I think some of the best stories that get labeled post-apocalypic are actually the apocalyse-in-progress.

    I hope to see more of a return to great, original storytelling soon. There have been some stale, recycled ideas out there lately. There are a significant number of gamers who need those deep stories to stay interested, myself included. Yes, I play the rinse and repeat games too, like CoD, for the gameplay and to play with friends, but when I game alone I need a good story to draw me in. My favourite novels are ones that contain strange events and strange consequences. (Currently about 25% into John Dies at the End and loving it)

    @4 Go back to bed.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Digital Bamboo

    I can vaguely remember, as a young boy, watching a TV movie in which the people were so helpless, so desperate in their post-apocolyptic world that it was actually a bit disturbing to watch. I have no idea what it was, as I can only remember ruins, hiding, and some sort of terrible threat, but it sprang to mind when reading this.

    It was much lower budget than this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOFsOA9VsBk but I found that trailer interesting.

    There are plenty of post-apocalyptic possibilities waiting to be tapped in books. Even though they are technically alternate history novels, several of Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century books–like Boneshaker & Ganymede–are begging to be made into games for any number of reasons (not the least which of being that they have strong female leads).

    Anyway just trying to say that there is no shortage of fresh apocalyptic stories, and no reason why any of us have to suffer through another I Am Legend.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Cobra951

    Nice article. Right you are. The apocalypse games and movies are coming out of our ears by now. I much prefer the Fallout 3 and Borderlands approach to that of The Walking Dead and The Last of Us, though I don’t mind the more depressive path now and then, if the game is truly worth it. I don’t so much think of the former as power fantasies as I do control fantasies. You are in control of yourself and your destiny, and you have a fully fleshed-out world in which to live it. The games where mere survival is a constant challenge tend to force you down a narrow path, where all you can do is react, very seldom act. That gets tiresome for me rather quickly. In contrast, I can live in Bethesda’s worlds for months of real time.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. sh4dow

    You know, I agree with the core of this article but… “despite humanity’s best intent”? Really? I know (of) only a couple of humans where I would dare to speak of “best intentions”. And their behavior is in NO way mirrored by humanity by and large. “Humans” as a whole are such egoistic, greedy and brutal animals that speaking about “best intentions” when referring to them just seems ridiculous to me.

    Which is why while I actually agree with the article when it comes to what I would like to see from games, I’m not sure it it would be such a great idea overall.

    Why?

    Well, I am very much reminded of Game of Thrones. I have a love/hate relationship with that show (or rather with its viewers…) because I found the first episode so brutal and lacking in hope that I actually stopped watching after that. But while I stopped watching the show, I still had a tremendous amount of respect for it for what I felt was a brutally honest portrayal of a medieval setting.
    So… to sum up… I found it perfect because it shocked and disgusted me so much that I didn’t even want to find out what happens next.

    And then I went online and checked out why other people loved it and what they said.

    “This show is so awesome, men are still real men!”
    “Yeah, rape that bitch!”
    “That’s how you deal with criminals”

    And many, many more like that.
    In fact, I didn’t find a single comment from somebody who was upset by the bleakness of it all. Just some who were repulsed because of the violence. Which I find to be on a similarly shallow level as the quotes above.

    I actually even got to work on the show for a while and… virtually all of my male co-workers only referred to Daenerys as “broad”, “hot slut” and so on. Objectifying a rape victim (on top of it one that has a decidedly natural/cute appearance, unlike Paris Hilton and similar chicks) – that’s the average guy for you. (And before somebody thinks I’m actually male bashing here… no worries, female co-workers weren’t much better…)

    Which just goes to show that you can have great intentions, portray something with shocking realism that is supposed to upset people and make them think. But instead, most might instead get off on it!

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Dave Cook

    @9 & 11 Thank you for reading :)

    And yeah @ 9 I agree that the best stories are those that unfold before the player and both push and pull the player emotionally. More of them please :D

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Un-HolyMOTHERofGOD

    @5 I was joking. God, no one has a sense of humor on this website. I’m outta here. Let me go try Videogamer.com.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Clupula

    You know, this article brings up my biggest complaint about Dead Space 2. When the game starts, all hell has already broken loose, and I couldn’t help but think that a better opening would have been to show the Sprawl as a living, breathing community before tearing everything to bloody chunks. We never got to see a functioning Ishimura. Seeing the Sprawl at full strength would have made what later happens tragic. I mean, just imagine seeing the nursery filled with light and laughter and, because this is a Dead Space game, you just know something horrible will happen there, but in the back of your mind, most people would then hope they’d never have to return to that area of the game.

    And then just imagine the extra impact of seeing that area again. HUGE missed opportunity, IMO.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Clupula

    @14 – Usually, it has to be funny to count as a joke.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. sebastien rivas

    I agree with this article but with limited opinion.

    Yes indeed, there is only that much you can do with a genre/ theme and thanks to next gen capabilities that genre and themes survived so far.

    Although Expectation is what’s killing the genre and theme.
    This genre and theme is what it is and nothing more in the simplistic ideal of it a doomsday kill them all and perhaps gore tone to it.

    I for one do not buy all genre theme out there that falls in that category because I know it is a “bis-repetitas”.
    Though I cannot help myself but think and see I will have fun killing nazies on next Wolfenstein installment and to go even further and to make a point I am about to pre-order mad max.
    I know the game is not going to be stellar and I do not expect it to be, yet feeling the mad max world, ambience, vulgar intensity etc attracts me and that is all I expect from it which leaves room to surprises and perhaps good surprises.

    And to go even further than that. What do you expect in this game/ genre/theme.
    Take a look at an article yesterday, something about COD introducing deep story of 2 brothers or something like that. I do not play COD and I am not sure what its content is like for offline gameplay. The jokes that were made out of it are truthful to the eyes of the beholders but it also means is that they do not want to see this happening or with limited increments because they feel there is too little that could help the genre/theme/style.
    So what’s next for doomsday/apocalypse that would make you want to buy?
    A lala land killing mickeys with forks and spoons? “it might be fun actually”.

    But my point is that too many expect just too much such as a dream within a dream for a title. Gamers are not sure what but they sense something more can be done, and that is a great ideal but until you know and release that something that definitely helps the genre/theme then think about it, bring solution and in the meantime do NOT expect more than what it is going to be.

    #17 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Star Wars Battlefront is not just Battlefield in a Hallowe’en costume, so don’t expect the same suite of features. Star Wars Battlefront is the subject of intense anticipation and curiosity, so it’s not surprising a bunch of rumours have turned up. One of these rumours suggests that Battlefront will have its own version of Battlelog, […]

  • Battlefield Hardline beats Bloodborne to top March NPD chart

    PS4 had a good month but it was EA’s multi-platform Battlefield Hardline that was the best-selling game. March 2015 NPD at a glance Total spend down 6% YoY. Hardware and software both down. Console hardware blamed for significant hardware dip. Accessories up. Battlefield Hardline tops software chart. PS4 outsells other consoles. Wii U, 3DS and […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves gear upgrade paths will be revealed next week

    Destiny developer Bungie will reveal new equipment upgrade paths during a livestream next week. Destiny: House of Wolves will release on May 19, the developer announced last week, promising a full schedule of reveals over the next few weeks. It also gave a broad outline of some of the things it will be discussing in […]

  • Don’t forget: the Elder Scrolls Online Welcome Back Weekend kicks off tomorrow

    Just a quick heads up to remind you that The Elder Scrolls Online Welcome Back Weekend kicks off tomorrow, April 17 at 10am EDT. The free weekend is an incentive to bring back beta players which tried the game, but decided not to pursue a purchase. You can play the MMO until 10am EDT on […]

  • Tale of Tales announces May release for Kickstarter success Sunset

    Those attending Kill Screen’s Two5six Festival next month will be able to play Tale of Tales upcoming title Sunset before it’s released. Along with the news provided to us by BeefJack, Tale of Tales have also released new set of lovely screenshots which we have posted below. Sunset will be released on Linux, Mac and […]

  • Take 50% off select racing titles through the Codemasters online store

    Codemasters has launched an online store and is celebrating by giving you 50% off the titles listed. Here’s what’s on sale: F1 2013 Classic Edition F1 2014 – F1 RACE STARS BUNDLE F1 2013 GRID 2 GRID 2 Reloaded GRID Autosport DIRT 3 Complete Edition DIRT Showdown Toybox Turbos F1 RACE STARS Hit up the […]

  • Spy_Watch coming to Apple Watch from Surgeon Simulator devs

    Surgeon Simulator developers Bossa Studios have announced its working on an Apple Watch game called Spy_Watch. Spy_Watch, according to the developer, has players heading up a spy agency which isn’t faring too well. Players will need to train a spy and then send him out on various missions to “reclaim the agency’s former glory.” Real-time […]

  • Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power hits Steam Early Access next week

    Frozenbyte has announced Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power will launch on Steam Early Access next week. The early access title will run you $19.99/€19.99/£14.99 and you can purchase it come April 21. If the short video above isn’t enough to tempt you, a video showing nine minutes of gameplay was released last week.

  • Journey, Flower, flOw trilogy to be released this summer on PS4 in 1080p at 60fps

    A remastered version of the Journey Collector’s Edition is coming to PlayStation 4 from ThatGameCompany. According to Gamespot, the trilogy will contain PS3 titles flOw, Flower and Journey on one disc, and it will run in 1080p at 60fps. A standalone version of Journey will arrive close to the trilogy’s release on PS4 through the […]

  • Here’s a few screenshots of PS4-exclusive Alienation from Housemarque

    Screenshots for Alienation, Housemarque’s four-player co-op PlayStation 4 exclusive, have been released and you can have a look at them in the gallery we’ve posted. Announced at gamescom 2014, the game features three main character classes, weapon customization, and various team set-ups. The game has players shooting at things with twin-stick gameplay with a top […]

  • Star Wars: Battlefront website notes November 17 release, teaser video and first image hit

    The first Star Wars: Battlefront image has been posted, and apparently it appeared on the official website at some point this morning. The game will also be released on November 17, according to the official website’s source code. The release date is noted in the code located in the image below. Props to Gematsu for […]

  • Mortal Kombat X is the fastest selling entry in the series to date

    Mortal Kombat X has sold faster than any other game in the series to date, making it the “biggest launch” in Mortal Kombat history, according to creator Ed Boon. Speaking in a series of tweets, Boon said both the mobile and console versions have “literally millions of players getting online” resulting in the servers being […]

  • Shadow of the Beast reboot resurfaces with some new screenshots

    The Shadow of the Beast reboot, which was announced in 2013, has show its face once more with early screenshots. Screenshots of the Amiga classic remake show off the Karamoon’s desert and the main character, Aarbron. According Matt Birch, CEO and founder of Heavy Spectrum, the team is currently hard at work on the “core […]

  • Halo: Spartan Strike arrives on Windows 8, iOS and Steam today

    Halo: Spartan Strike is now available on Windows 8, Steam, iOS devices and Windows 8 phones. The mobile top-down shooter will run you $5.99. Halo: Spartan Strike tells a new story in the Halo universe set during the events of Halo 2 on New Mombasa in 2552. Those playing on Windows 8 devices can compete […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video shows highlights from the Episdoe Duscae demo

    Square Enix has released a Final Fantasy 15 video which shows highlights from the Episode Duscae demo included with launch editions of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. FFT0 has shipped over one million copies worldwide, and a player feedback survey is available for the Duscae demo until May 19. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is available on PlayStation […]

  • Bloodborne has sold over 155,000 digital units since release – SuperData

    PlayStation 4 exclusive Bloodborne has sold over 155,000 digital units since it was released on March 24, according to SuperData’s latest report. The figure produced by SuperData is worldwide and comes on the heels of the one million units sold announcement earlier this week. “After the release of the beautiful but terribly short game The […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update: Mega May returns, Super Smash Bros. update, Mii Fighter costumes

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a Super Smash Bros. update and the StreetPass Mii Plaza games Battleground Z and Ultimate Angler. The update is rather detailed, and a bit larger than normal, and you may wish to pay special attention to the activities listed. Here’s the full update: StreetPass […]

  • Here’s your first look at Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida in Super Time Force Ultra

    Sony Worldwide boss Shuhei Yoshida is a playable character in Super Time Force Ultra, and today, Capy Games has provided a couple images of the man himself in the game. Yoshida was announced as a playable character in the game during Sony’s PlayStation Experience event back in December 2014. The PS4 and Vita version will […]

  • The wait is almost over – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has gone gold

    CD Projekt RED has announced the news we’ve all been waiting to hear: The Witcher 3 has gone gold. This means Geralt’s latest, and possibly last, adventure has been sent to the factory to be pressed into lovely gaming discs. “We worked so damn hard over the past three years to bring you this game,” […]

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a “couple weeks out from beta,” new trailer

    Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is just a “couple of weeks out from beta,” according to development studio The Chinese Room, and a release date will be announced “shortly.” To give you an idea of how development has been coming along since it was announced at gamescom 2013, the team has released a new trailer […]

  • GTA 5 on PC looks incredible, but I can’t recommend it to console players

    As much as Matt Martin loves GTA 5, he can’t recommend upgrading from console to PC just for a slick editing suite and even prettier graphics. “This is the third time in as many years that I’ve bought GTA 5.” I have a Grand Theft Auto 5 obsession, as I’m sure you know if you’ve […]

  • The Forest engine updated to Unity 5, major graphical and gameplay improvements made

    The Forest’s latest patch added substantial improvements to the game. The Forest version 0.16 is now live on Steam with plenty of new additions. The game has been ported over to Unity engine version 5. The plant and skin shaders have been replaced or rewritten. Many other visual tweaks have been made, such as model […]

  • Star Wars: Battlefront banner leaks from Star Wars Convention

    EA has been setting up the Battlefront booth at Star Wars Celebration, and one leaked picture shows what could be the game’s main art. Someone on Reddit posted a picture of the game banner at EA’s booth. Here it is: Lots of things happening here. There’s a Star Destroyer in the distance, TIE Fighters and […]

  • Get GTA 5 working with Oculus Rift using this tool

    There’s a way you can play GTA 5 in VR if you own an Oculus Rift Dev Kit and have a bit of cash to spare. VorpX, the go-to program for adding VR support to games has received an update recently to support GTA 5. This is far from perfect, as it only translates the […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team: week of April 15 team revealed

    This week’s Team of the Week is now available for anyone to challenge in FIFA Ultimate Team. The team members get selected each week based on their performance during the weekend matches. You can fire up FIFA Ultimate Team on any platform and challenge this squad. You’ll also find some Team of the Week items […]

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will let you stealth all encounters, including bosses

    Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will bring back one of the original game’s major features. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is considered by many to be a great game and worthy of bearing the franchise name. One of its grating issues though was its boss fights. You only had one way to fight them: be confrontational. The […]

  • Project Cars PC specs and supported wheels announced

    The release date of Project Cars is inching ever closer and more details have been revealed to answer all your burning questions. Project Cars developer Slightly Mad Studios has revealed the full list of supported steering wheels on all platforms, as well as the minimum and recommended PC specs. Minimum specs CPU – 2.66 GHz […]

  • GTA 5 gets custom FOV mod on PC

    Those not satisfied with GTA 5′s built-in field of view slider can use a new mod to push the number even further. The PC versions of GTA 5 – just like its PS4 and Xbox One counterparts – lets you switch between third and first-person view in shooting and driving. The game has an FOV […]

  • Win! GTA 5 on PC!

    Want to win a Steam key for Grand Theft Auto 5 on PC? Just enter here. GTA 5 released on PC this week and is going down a storm. We like it a lot, which is why we’re giving away a Steam code for Rockstar’s latest. All you need to do is enter your email […]

  • GTA 5 topples Skyrim’s record for highest concurrent players on Steam

    Not factoring in Valve games, GTA 5 is the new king of concurrent player numbers on Steam. GTA 5 is very popular on PC, even more popular than games like Skyrim in its heyday. The number of concurrent players for GTA 5 has peaked today at 301,246. This makes it the only non-Valve game to […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: what does a modern fighting game look like?

    Mortal Kombat continues to evolve as NetherRealm adds RPG systems and daily challenges to a solid fighting game, says Sherif Saed. “Mortal Kombat X takes many cues from games like Destiny, Call of Duty, and GTA Online with hourly, daily and weekly events.” For as many of its familiar facets, Mortal Kombat X has enough […]

  • J-Stars Victory VS+ coming west in June – new trailer

    J-Stars Victory VS+ will make the jump (see what I did there) to the west after all. J-Stars Victory VS+ is the western title for the fighting game which stars characters from a variety of Shonen Jump-published manga. Bandai Namco has announced the fighter will release in Europe on June 26 and in the Americas […]

  • Codemasters F1 license good through 2016

    Codemasters has at least one more F1 game in it. F1 2015 isn’t out yet, so Codemasters is naturally not talking about what it might get up to in the future. We do know what it can get up to, though; Codemasters’ Steven Embling told Videogamer has the option to continue the series. “We have […]

  • Project Cars has pretty deep graphics options on consoles

    Project Cars offers players a wide variety of ways to customise their graphic settings on PS4 and Xbox One. Project Cars is a graphics showcase and all early indications suggest it’s going to be one of the best-looking games out there. Slightly Mad’s commitment to graphics seems to go deeper than making things pretty, though: […]

  • Super Smash Bros. patch nerfs Diddy Kong – report

    Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Wii U is great but Diddy Kong is a beast and must be stopped. The latest Super Smash Bros. 3Ds and Wii U patch seems to have nerfed Diddy Kong, a character so over-powered that serious tournament players generate controversy by choosing to use him. Nintendo doesn’t publish patch notes, […]

  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel developer shuttered

    Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel developer 2K Australia has been closed down. Kotaku broke the news, and also had word from an anonymous source, who said that all staff have been let go. 2K responded to our request for comment with the following statement: We can confirm we have taken steps to begin the studio closure process […]

  • Samorost 3 trailer shows Amanita still in fine form

    Samorost 3 looks as delicately beautiful as its siblings. Samarost 3 developer Amanita Design has a reputation for gorgeous, slightly surreal world building. This new trailer for its latest adventure looks just as if not more lovely than the previous Samarost games and Botanicula. Samarost 3 is coming to Mac and PC later this year, […]

  • Amnesia dev’s new project SOMA now in beta

    SOMA is nearly here and I am torn between excitement and horrified dread. SOMA is the latest horror project from Frictional, the team behind Amnesia: The Dark Descent. We’re pretty excited to see what Frictional comes up with next, and we won’t have too long to wait, apparently; the developer has announced that SOMA is […]

  • Steam Guard mobile authenticator now in beta testing

    Steam is now testing its latest security measure. Steam helps you protect your account by offering two-factor authentication, a solution so beautifully elegant and effective that it’s astounding every gaming network doesn’t do the same (looking at you, Sony). Valve’s version is called Steam Guard, and it works via email. This isn’t always super convenient, […]

  • Godzilla battles Mothra in new trailer

    Godzilla lets you stomp around cities and battle classic kaiju. I’m in. Godzilla is coming to PlayStation 3 and PS4 in early July, but we haven’t seen a great deal of it since its December reveal. The new trailer below gives you an idea of just what Natsume has done with one of the biggest […]

  • Tales of Zestiria to launch this year – new trailer

    Tales of Zestiria continues Bandai Namco’s delightful new habit of bringing the popular JRPG series to the west before the shine wears off. Tales of Zestiria is coming west in northern autumn, the publisher has announced. That’s not a bad turnaround, given it first hit Japan in January, and localisation of text-heavy titles is expensive […]

  • Project Cars release date locked down, new trailer released

    Project Cars finally has a release date. Project Cars will release on May 8, Bandai Namco UK has announced. We haven’t yet had an update from Namco Bandai’s other regional offices, but its probably safe to bet the racer will release around the same time in the Americas, Europe and ANZ region. We can now […]

  • Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains trailer shows combat, online multiplayer

    Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains has plenty to offer fans of the anime. Previously known as Attack on Titan: The Last Wings of Mankind, the Spike Chunsoft action game is coming west thanks to Atlus. Gematsu reports it’s due in both Europe and North America in May, via the 3DS eShop. The trailer below […]

  • Bloodborne stamina recovery rate affected by equip weight

    Bloodborne players have unearthed an important gameplay detail not mentioned in the game’s menus or manual. In Bloodborne, players need to manage their stamina carefully for best results. A far more aggressively-tuned affair than past Souls games, Bloodborne does away with equip weight limits, and items have no listed weight details. As far as players […]

  • Street Fighter’s Ryu, Fire Emblem’s Roy spotted in Super Smash Bros. patch – rumour

    Street Fighter’s Ryu is rumoured for future Super Smash bros DLC following datamining of the latest patch. Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Wii U were updated recently, and hacker shinyquagsire23 claims to have found some interesting files while poking around in the 3DS patch data. As detailed on Reddit, the audio files included a new […]

  • Suikoden 3 PEGI rating suggests PS2 Classic re-release

    Suikoden. Suikoden 2. And now: Suikoden 3. Suikoden 3 has been rated by PEGI for PlayStation 3, presumably ahead of an upcoming re-release. Gematsu turned up the rating, and although we have no further information at this time, it’s not much a leap to assume the RPG will turn up as a PS2 Classic on […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront gameplay reveal to be streamed live, new Instagram tease

    The Star Wars Battlefront gameplay reveal will be live-streamed during a panel hosted by EA as part of the Star Wars Celebration festivities this Friday. This is according to an announcement from Verizon and Disney courtesy of MP1ST. The main stream for the event kicks off at 10am PDT/1pm EDT on Thursday, April 16. It […]

  • GameStop to launch retro game and console trade-in experiment

    GameStop wants to get into the retro game and console business, providing it’s a worthwhile endeavor. To test the possibility, it will soon allow customers in Birmingham, Alabama and New York City to trade-in classic consoles and games in-store. Speaking with IGN, a spokesperson for the company said the initiative will kick off on April […]

  • Battlefield Hardline’s first patch addresses five priority issues requested by the community

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch is in the works, and today, Visceral Games has added Punkbuster and Nvidia DirectX driver fixes to the list of issues to be addressed. Miscellaneous fixes for “the most frequent crashes” will be included in the patch, as well as the following “top five priority” issues voiced by the community. Punkbuster […]

  • GTA 5 user videos: Franklin’s exploits, a traffic jam tickle our funny bone

    Since GTA 5 was released on PC this week, the amount of videos being created with the new editing tools are releasing at a quick rate. Below, are three in particular I found amusing. The first one is from James McVinnie, originally posted on Reddit, showing what occurs after he happens upon vehicles in a […]

  • Invisible Inc. is coming to PS4 and has left Steam Early Access

    Invisible Inc., from Don’t Starve developers Klei Entertainment, has been announced for PlayStation 4 and the game has also a release date on PC. The game has now left Steam Early Access and will arrive on PC May 12. Per a post from studio founder Jamie Cheng on the PS Blog, the game will contain […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Ascendance DLC dated for PC and PlayStation

    The Ascendance DLC pack for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare now has a release date for PC, PlayStation 3 and PS4. It contains four new maps, the OHM 2-in-1 directed energy light machine gun, the OHM Werewolf custom variant, and the new Exo Grapple ability and playlist. The Infection episode of the exo Zombies saga […]

  • Killing Floor 2 PC specs and Digital Deluxe Edition contents announced by Tripwire

    A Digital Deluxe Edition for Killing Floor 2 along with PC specs for the title have been announced, along with the new of a Steam Early Access launch later this month. According to Tripwire Interactive, the Digital Deluxe Edition will run you $39.99/£26.99/€36.99 starting on April 21 on Steam. This edition contains the following additions […]