Posts Tagged ‘2K’

Beyond Civilization: Discovering Firaxis

By Adam Smith on July 23rd, 2014.

While visiting Firaxis to play Civilization: Beyond Earth, I spent a couple of hours talking to members of the team and learning how the company works. As the current creators and curators of two of my favourite series of games, Firaxis rank among the most interesting studios in existence, and their history is also a large part of the history of PC strategy gaming. With one eye on the future and the other on the past, here are extended thougts on the utilitarian nature of Civilization, the role of Sid Meier and much much more.

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Hands-On: Civilization – Beyond Earth

By Adam Smith on July 21st, 2014.

Last week, I visited Firaxis to talk about the studio’s history and the ongoing evolution of Civilization. We mainly focused on the series of games rather than humanity’s works as a whole, so as to stay on topic, and I spent part of the day playing Beyond Earth. Is it a sci-fi spin-off or a fully fledged sequel? How precisely is it related to the series and to the much-loved Alpha Centauri? Later this week, I’ll share conversations with the development team and more thoughts on the history of the series, but first of all, here are some impressions of the game itself.

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The Hunt Is Partially On: Evolve Alpha Signups

By Adam Smith on July 4th, 2014.

Hunters, emerge from your hides and rejoice. A small window of opportunity remains open and if you manage to sidle your camouflaged bulk through to the other side, you’ll be a fully-fledged Evolve alpha tester. A few caveats though – you’ll need to sign up on a PC that can run the game, have a working Steam account and you must be situated in mainland North America. Presumably that’s to do with server locations and timing issues rather than national favouritism. If you fit the criteria, enjoy your so-called Independence (Canadians, ignore that, you’re alright with me) and sign up here, using the password ‘happyhunting’ and referral ‘JoinTheHunt’.

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Testy: DICE Considering Early Access For Battlefield

By Adam Smith on June 16th, 2014.

In an interview with Game Informer, DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson stated that the beta process for future Battlefield titles may resemble an Early Access release. “We have nothing to announce, but we are having discussions when it comes to [early access]…It comes not from a business perspective, but more from a perspective of if it would help us have a stable launch of the game.” The joke writes itself, of course, given the many complaints about Battlefield 4′s various issues at launch. Is this just a branding exercise that aims to legitamise the unstable first months of a game’s existence or would it be a useful learning experience for the developers. Probably a bit of both.

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Whimper And Crush: Borderlands – The Pre-Sequel

By Adam Smith on June 5th, 2014.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is called Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, which should already tip you off that it’s a game trying extremely hard to out-zany its predecessors. In the press release that accompanies the release date trailer below (it’s out on October 17th on this side of the internet oceans and on the 14th in the US), several characters do a dance on the moon. Crazy, right? I can’t think of anything more hilarious than lunar choreography set to ironically terrible music, except maybe exactly the same thing but with a gun that shoots bees dropped in the middle of the whole show. Borderlands 3 will probably be announced by a troupe of clowns spilling out of a tiny car at your front door and rubbing a cream pie into your face.

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Hands On With Evolve, The Monster-Bullying Simulator

By Alec Meer on February 11th, 2014.

Evolve is a 4v1 asymmetrical multiplayer co-op action game from Turtle Rock Studios, the main team behind the original Left 4 Dead. Picked up by 2K for an eyewatering sum at the THQ IP firesale, it’s due for release later this year. A couple of weeks ago, I went to play it.

I’m shaking, which while a state I usually associate with over/under caffeination or discovering that there’s been a distressingly cynical free to play remake of one of my most beloved games, is in this case a good thing. I’m shaking from built up and released tension, and from an infusion of adrenaline into my frail, pale form. I’m shaking because I became a monster, and because I won, and because I beat the real monsters.
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Free Civ V Expansionette, + New SuperMegaComplete Pack

By Alec Meer on February 7th, 2014.

The release of Civilization V: The Complete Edition rather suggests we’ve reached end of the line for Firaxis’ latest history-spanning strategy game, and thus can start drawing up our mental wishlists for Civ VI. Though if I’ve learned anything in this business, it’s that there’s any number of final-sounding suffixes left in the game names cupboard. Be braced for Civ V: Ultimate, Civ V: Director’s Cut, Civ V: What They Couldn’t Show Gandhi Doing In Cinemas, and Civ V: In A Different Box.

Back to that shortly, however. The Cool Thing happening off the back of this new omnibus edition is a new and free Civ V scenario that’s being given to existing and future Brave New World owners for no-pennies. Said scenario is also a little bit Colonizationy (but only a little bit).
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Remembering The Realms: Civ V Faerun Mod

By Adam Smith on November 25th, 2013.

I spent a lot of time playing Civ IV mods, particularly the splendid Fall From Heaven, but I’ve only tried a couple of alterations to Firaxis’ most recent entry in the series, and don’t think I’ve downloaded a single one since installing the two excellent expansions to the base game. That all changed this weekend, when a post on PC Gamer drew my attention to the work of modder framedarchitecture, who has created several historical scenarios and a huge Forgotten Realms total conversion. The Faerun mod requires the Gods and Kings DLC and will disable Brave New World when used, and it adds just about everything you could want from a Dungeons and Dragons themed Civ game.

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Hands On: XCOM – Enemy Within

By Adam Smith on October 9th, 2013.

XCOM: Enemy Within escalates the alien invasion, introducing body modification, sky-squids and Mechtoids. After seeing the initial reveal at Gamescom, I was eager to try the expansion before release, but when I had the chance last week, I hadn’t expected to see humanity turning on itself. XCOM have encountered a new threat and this one originates much closer to home.

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Bioshock Noir: Burial At Sea’s Opening Scenes

By Adam Smith on October 8th, 2013.

Bioshock has that one part, the stunning moment that locks the game in the memory forever. I’m talking, of course, about the opening plane crash and the first view of the lighthouse. The descent into Rapture, like the ascent into Columbia, employed tidy, efficient techniques to build a world that was eerie, allusive and oddly attractive. Alec wrote an entire post about that first sight of Rapture. The opening five minutes of Burial At Sea, Bioshock Infinite’s narrative DLC, contain a different side of Rapture, as Booker and Elizabeth walk the corridors before the Fall. Spoilers abound, obviously, with the plot’s initial direction outlined as the two take in some familiar sights.

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A Whole Lotta Hoopla: NBA 2K14 Out Now

By John Walker on October 7th, 2013.

NBA 2K13 was monstrous. I know that seems a controversial statement for a game with a Metacritic of 90, and part of a long-running, extremely successful series. But I’m quoting its publishers here. For some peculiar reason, on the Steam page for NBA 2K14, the description begins, “NBA 2K13 was a monstrous release…” I guess they meant “big”? Anyway, NBA 2K14, which looks more like a registration plate than a game name, is out now, and I expect it’s probably very good.

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Rapture Captured: Bioshock Infinite – Burial At Sea

By Adam Smith on October 5th, 2013.

The Modern Day Icarus videos that heralded the arrival of Bioshock Infinite were thoroughly enjoyable as far as marketing nonsense goes. Faux documentaries that showed glimpses of the city in the sky, its populace and artefacts, they were entertainingly odd and managed to win my approval despite showing nary a glimpse of the game itself. As the Burial At Sea DLC approaches – and with it a return to Rapture – 2K have released a new video, in the same style, examining the Modern Day Atlantis. It’s not quite as effective, mainly because I expected more than the sort of annoyance I greet Jehova’s Witnesses with when the narrator gravely intoned, “That’s when this happened”.

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Many Mechanized Minutes Of XCOM: Enemy Within

By Nathan Grayson on September 5th, 2013.

Like T-Rexes, sectoid mechs can't see you if you don't move. No, wait, the other thing: they will murder you no matter what.

For flimsy flesh beings such as ourselves, fighting aliens is rarely a good idea. For instance, Alec hasn’t posted in ages because he attempted to single-handedly stave off an invasion and nearly died but then had to postpone to go help raise his new baby. But thanks to XCOM: Enemy Within, I realize that the solution to our easily fried human organs and tendency to give birth at the most inopportune moments was obvious all along. We just need to replace Alec (and all other would-be extraterrestrial terrorizers) with a really big robot. No, not that one. Mechs, silly. See them punch sectoids over waterfalls after the break.

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