Author Archive

Two Year Talk: Interviewing Planetside 2’s Creative Director

Planetside 2 is two years old today and still going strong. It’s a Planniversary, if you will.

Ahem. I’ve written a bunch about my time with the game, including this. Yes, I like it a lot. One person who has been at the forefront of that long campaign of making me like something for two whole years, and who was also implicated in the complex saga of development beforehand, is Matt Higby. He’s headed up the SOE team throughout the twenty-four months of the game being live, and still seems to have plenty of energy for the future of this peerless F2P shooter. With those two years in mind, I had a chat with him.

Read on below for a myriad of thoughts on the game that does a war of red, blue, and purple like no other.

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Wot I Think: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

It’s a little tricky to avoid feeling that a review of The Pre-Sequel (!) is superfluous. Surely everyone in the world has had a taste of Borderlands at this point, and have made their minds up about it? This is very much more of that same formula, with zaniness turned up to… What’s that, Steve? You’ve never played a Borderlands game? Wow.

Well then, I’d better explain!

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Satellite Reign: Hands-On With Cyberpunk’s Rising Star

Back when I interviewed Syndicate-veteran Mike Diskett about his plans for Satellite Reign, I was buoyant with excitement: he spoke of systems, not scripting, and of sprawling cyberpunk cities playing host to mad shoot ’em freedom, just like we were promised in the old days. Now, having spent some time with the “pre-alpha” test release that the team have put out to backers, I can say that this excitement was, mercifully, a precursor to an even deeper feeling: intense anxiety.

Anxiety? Yes, because this early, incomplete build demonstrates that the 5 Lives team know exactly what they doing, and all we can do now is wait, nervously, to see if they pull it off for the full game.

Aiie!
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Have You Played… Eve Online?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

There are MMOs, and there’s Eve Online. There are space games, and there is the space game which is a thriving, living universe populated by thousands of players and brought to life by their very real industry, political machination, and endless conflict. It might be the best online game ever made, but don’t tell anyone I told you that.

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Have You Played… Knock, Knock?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Deeply weird and fantastically stylish, Knock, Knock – a Russian studio’s examination of insomnia and being afraid of the dark – is one of the best games of the past couple of years. Just don’t expect to understand it all.

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Wot I Think: Ancient Space

Space games are having something of a renaissance of late, but it’s only in the fly-and-shoot genres that we’re seeing much concrete promise (specifically with the rise and rise of Elite: Dangerous). The RTS meanwhile still pines for Homeworld, and while there are a number of games on our space-radar, nothing has yet to really spool up our jump drive and push into the next sector.

Could Ancient Space take up this critical astro-gauntlet?

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Street Cleaning Simulator: Diary Of A Street Cleanin’ Man

Hello, ladies.

Every Sunday, we reach deep into Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s 141-year history to pull out one of the the best moments from the archive. This week, another Jim road trip, only this time he’s cleaning up the mean streets of Street Cleaning Simulator. This article was first published on July 8th 2011 with the title, “Street Cleanin’ Man”, an age before we were all au fait with labour sims.

Discovering that this game existed was a moment of perverse joy for me. I knew that it would be deeply boring – it really is – and that I would have to play it extensively for no reason other than to take joy in being quite deliberately boring. It’s the kind of non-challenge I relish, and I gleefully set about compiling a diary of the events – or lack thereof – in the life of a simulatory street cleaner.

Read on to find out how I got on with that.

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Have You Played… Unity Of Command?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Proving that sometimes the simplest games are the most effect, Unity of Command distilled the wargamer’s love of hexes and history to create and Eastern front game that is all about the cold number of war. Strange, then, that it should be one of the most emotive and compelling strategy games out there.
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Why Fuel Is Still A Showroom Of Videogame Possibilities

Starting today, every Sunday we’re going to pull out one of the best moments from Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s 141-year history. This week, Jim’s road trip around post-apocalyptic racing game Fuel, first published June 22nd 2009 with the title, “Fuel: Around The World In Eight Hours”. With The Crew just around the corner, a Mad Max game in-development and open-terrain survival games on the rise, the musings below are still relevant today.

When it was announced that Fuel, Asobo Studios’ apocalyptic open-world racer, boasted a daunting 5,560 square miles of terrain (14,400 km²), I immediately made a mental note to go mental, and drive around the entire world. Last week, having received some PC preview code from publisher Codemasters, I did precisely that.

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Planetside 2: My Favourite Game Of The Past Two Years

There have been so many beautiful and clever games appear in the past two years that I find myself surprised to be saying this: Planetside 2 is my favourite game of the past two years. Sure, I’ve practically lived off Teleglitch at times, and actually been made to like an adventure game via KRZ, but Planetside’s bright and sparkly sequel has truly colonised my PC. Can a sci-fi shooter sequel really have been the game that held my attention for the longest? There have been prettier games, there have been smarter games, games which were more innovative, moving, or simply better designed. But SOE’s giant red-blue-purple MMOFPS has been the one for me. It’ll be two years old in a couple of months, and I like it more now than I did when it launched.

What’s going on?

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Wot I Checked: Chess 2 – The Sequel

Ah, Chess 2. A joke made real? Seems like it, only they’re not joking. This is a straight up remix and rebalance intended to shuffle the game away from its standard opening/closing moves and to fix the “problems” of the venerable chequered board format. But how can that work? And more importantly: does it work?

Read on for my handful of chess anecdotes and some writing about Chess 2, too. Toooo.
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Planetside 2: Hunt With The Traitors!

Playing Planetside 2 with RPS doesn’t have to be about purple trousers or giraffe textures, no sir. In fact it can be entirely about freedom, unfloating tanks, and impressive armour (above), thanks to Rock Traitor Shotgun, our New Conglomerate faction outfit on the newly repopulated Miller server. (Man, it was busy this weekend.) This alternative team are having a bit of a shindig on the 16th of August from 19:00 BST, and they’d like you to join. Since Planetside 2 is free, there’s nothing stopping you. Aside, perhaps, from a weakly PC. But anyway, you should join in – I shall! – because the details are all over here.

See you there.

Join Us At 8pm UK Time For Streamed Planetside 2

Hello you.

We’re going to be streaming Planetside 2 at 8pm, and you’ll be able to watch that in the further expanse of this post if you tune your computer to Twitch-o-vision at that time (that’s two hours after the publication time of this post.) We have a special guest, Planetside 2’s senior art director, the tremendous Tramell Isaac, who will be talking us through the new swamp continent, Hossin. Then we’ll join our VS Planetside 2 outfit for some purple battle action. Needless to say, we’ll post up the full thing after the event.

In conclusion: Join us!

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Wot I Think: Men Of War: Assault Squad 2

Okay! It’s a sequel called Men Of War: Assault Squad 2, which is a name that will tell you the exact game it is based upon, if you think hard enough. What this means is that we have a new batch of multiplayer-facing missions (although some playable single player) in the fabulously vivid and brutal Men Of War engine. And the Men Of War setting. It’s World War II again, and let’s not forget that important thematic element. Men Of War has not changed. Perhaps it cannot change.

And so did Ass Squad need a sequel? And can I safely use that abbreviation in this introduction. Here’s Wot I Think.

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Wot I Made: Sir, You Are Being Hunted V1.0

We’re not going to be publishing a Wot I Think of the game Sir, You Are Being Hunted because one of the principle people behind it – although secondary in overall accomplishment to the mercurial Tom Betts and the incendiary James Carey – is me. I started a small game design company (just the three of us) back in 2010, and in November 2012 we Kickstarted our first big project, which was the open-world stealth and survival game, Sir, You Are Being Hunted. Today, after just over eight months of Early Access, that project hits V1.0. This means that we’ve done what we promised we’d do in the Kickstarter, and the game is superb shape. It’s out and you should play it. That’s my objective analysis of the situation, anyway.

Oh, and there’s a Professor Elemental video below to celebrate the release. You should watch that.
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What’s Up With Warframe?

By which I mean: I’ve played Warframe over the past couple of weeks and will now write about it, for your possible edification.

Warframe is a sci-fi over-the-shoulder shooter where space ninjas have upgradeable sharkfin heads. Sadly that doesn’t quite clinch the deal, because the free-to-play beast of Digital Extremes has been in beta for a year now, and still hasn’t quite driven home the wakizashi of success. But has that journey delivered it from the hollow purgatory of its early release? Or will it determine to be a footnote in the history of free-to-play experimentation?

I donned my impossible fish helmet to find out.

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Rumble: War Thunder Ground Forces Beta Keys

Hello! The War Thunder Ground Forces beta – that means games of multiplayer tanks, as is so popular in these modern internets – is about to bombard these lonely shores, and Gaijin have sent us over a big batch of keys to give away.

You can grab them (and all the requisite info) below.

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Hands On: Survarium

The first part of Vostok’s grand post-apocalyptic shooter plan, Survarium, has now started inviting batches of sign ups to their beta. It’s the multiplayer FPS portion of the game, and as such basically a test of the shooting, running about, and weapon unlocking game systems. It’s an experience that will be familiar to anyone who spent time playing first-person games online in the past decade, although set in the most lavish of Ukrainian apocalypses.

So is that offering going to be strong enough to power the game through to its pseudo-Stalker co-op core? Peer into my crystal lake of toxic weirdness to find out.

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Good Luck, Planetside 2 Players!

Unusual competitive gaming news: Our beloved Planetside 2 community is in for the fight of its life this evening, as it faces one of the best clans from their home server of Miller in a Planetside Community Clash match. You can examine the competition brackets over here, where you can see that the team’s opponents are an NC outfit called “The Jesters”, who hail from the Cobalt server. No idea if we’ll get completely flattened, or heroically win the day, but either way it should be interesting to watch.

And you can watch the match tonight on Twitch tonight at 2000 UK, if you’d like to lend support. Good luck, all.

Hands On: Miegakure

That's a 4D watermark.

Miegakure is a 4-dimensional puzzle game. What this means is that I am going to struggle to convey exactly what playing it entails. That’s not to say that the game’s designer, Marc Ten Bosch, has made something alienating or overly intellectual. It’s a warm, funny, deeply intelligent game, which I was pleased to have the opportunity play on the periphery of this year’s GDC.

I think it could be very important indeed.

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