Report: Oculus to announce $200 standalone VR headset this year

VR in Murder She Wrote

Facebook is planning to unveil a $200 (£150-odd) wireless Oculus VR headset later this year that you can use without connecting to either a PC or a phone, according to a Bloomberg report.

The new headset, codename “Pacific”, will be a fully standalone product. So you’ll be able to take it out of the box, strap it on your head, and start playing games and watching videos. That means it will have some kind of built-in display, which would be a first in the space.

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Soldat dev’s Butcher gets free demo

Butcher

If you were on the fence about whether you’d enjoy Butcher‘s [official site] chainsaw-wielding, blood-splattered, ultraviolent take on 2D platforming, then you can now dip your toe into the red pool without paying anything. The game, from Transhuman Design, the developer of Soldat, just got a free demo.

There’s also 50% off the full game until Monday, so if you like the free stuff it’s only £3.49/4.99€/$4,99 to get the full shooty-bang experience.

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Her Story creator Sam Barlow is involved in Telling Lies

Oh no, is that headline libellous? Let me check my big copy of McNae’s. Actually, no, let’s live dangerously. Sam Barlow, the creator of crime thriller Her Story is caught up in Telling Lies! By that I mean he is making a new interactive video story called Telling Lies, and teaming up with a big ol’ film production company to do so. We don’t know exactly what it’s about yet but Barlow did tell Variety that it was something of a “political thriller with 3-4 key characters” and a “spiritual follow-up” to Her Story rather than a straight-up sequel.
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Wot I Think – Elder Scrolls: Legends

scrollslegends1

It’s a card game! As discussed on this week’s podcast, I’ve been somehow saddled with the reputation of being “the collectible cards game guy” at RPS. This is partly my own fault due to my Duelyst-ing but also partly due to my fellow journos typecasting me, like some kind of grubby-fingered Bryan Cranston. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Remember when I became “the tanks guy” because I once asked too many questions about tanks?
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How Company of Heroes made a destructible battlefield

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Company of Heroes [official site].

The Tiger tanks come rolling in, the artillery comes thundering down. Walls are blown wide open, buildings collapse on themselves. In Company of Heroes, the battlefield is ever-changing, munitions cutting into the map new opportunities for flanking and to be flanked. Confident pushes turn to disaster as the enemy punches through rear guards, and last-ditch defences are saved as the cavalry smashes through barricades. Company of Heroes is a deeply dynamic RTS, something that’s all down to:

THE MECHANIC: Destructible environments Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: thievery digital boardgame Antihero

ah1

The quintessential element of boardgaming, I would argue, is the OH YOU BASTARD moment. When your world falls apart because long-brewed plans are coldly destroyed by another player’s action that you never saw coming. When, just for a blood-red second, you genuinely wish sudden death upon them.

Sure, multiplayer videogames frequently involve such emotions, but there’s a more transitory quality to them – you lost that round, that base got swiped, that idiot shot you in the back of the head. You move onto some other priority almost immediately. Turn-based strategy games are closer, but even then they generally work on such a scale that you’ve got something else to focus on when disaster strikes.

Boardgames, often briefer, often dependent on one core plan, will rip your heart out. Antihero [official site]? Yeah, that does that. Even if you’re playing it on your own. Read the rest of this entry »

Dream Daddy is currently a delayed daddy

Dream Daddy

I only found out about the dad dating sim, Dream Daddy [official site] a few weeks ago when a friend brought it to my attention as we paddled in the freezing sea and toasted a wedding. Look, that is just how we roll – do not question my lifestyle choices. ANYWAY. The point of Dream Daddy is that you are a dad romancing other hot dads. So far so “why haven’t we written about its existence on RPS yet?”

Well, the news of the game’s necessary release delay means that at least I now have an excuse to write about it so let’s make lemonade out of the late-running citrus delivery and have it on the site now. Also it’s a great fit for my Beyonce image template so scroll to the end for that. Read the rest of this entry »

Nidhogg 2 starts duelling on August 15th

Nidhogg 2 [official site], the duelling sequel to one of the very finest local multiplayer games, is almost upon us. Developers Messhof today announced a release date of August 15th. Let us rend our foes, win glory, and charge gleefully into the waiting maw of the all-devouring serpent Níðhöggr. It’s certainly a more exciting victory celebration than dabbing, though the Football Association probably frown on pitch invasions by mythical beasts. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Halo: Combat Evolved?

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

WHAT. How have we gone so long without mentioning Halo in ‘Have You Played’? Maybe because it’s such an obvious choice, a monster of both profit and influence. Every shooter since has something to owe Halo, for better or worse. Microsoft’s console expedition certainly has something to owe it, not that we care. Read the rest of this entry »

Scrubs welcome: Serial Cleaner sweeps out of early access

Serial Cleaner

Crime tidy-’em-up stealth game Serial Cleaner [official site] creeps out of early access on PC today. If you were at Rezzed you may have played it in our Cave of Wonders or seen Adam and I try to stash bodies and scrub away bloodstains as we took it for a spin. Take a peek at the new launch trailer: Read the rest of this entry »

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds launching first-person-only servers this month

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds [official site] will soon start rolling out a mode locking all players to the first-person view, coming with this month’s big ‘Monthly’ update. The splendid 100-man rumble lets players switch between first-person and third-person cameras with the press of a button, see, and some dislike how the third-person view lets players peek around corners and into places they couldn’t otherwise see. For those folks who fancy a stricter challenge, the new servers will block that. It’ll initially be available in Plunkbat’s Solo and Duo modes, rolling out to full Squad mode later. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path Welcomes Combative Commenters

I was tempted to explore Nineteenth Century warfare or try something operational for this year’s play-by-comment wargaming marathon, but after surveying my game collection and conducting experiments, found myself gravitating towards Battlefront’s oeuvre and WW2 once again. When it comes to generating gripping unscripted dramas I reckon first-generation Combat Mission is peerless, and that clever WEGO turn structure (the orders of both sides are executed simultaneously) might have been designed with communal combat choreography and episodic AAR writing in mind.

If The Battle of the Perfectly Rectangular Olive Grove is any guide, the coming scrap will play out at approximately 1TPD. Every 24 hours, the Red Army troops and armoured vehicles under your control will experience 60 in-game seconds of Eastern Front hell. Read the rest of this entry »

Meet Total War: Warhammer 2’s Dark Elves

darkelves1

Imagine being a PR today. “HELLO PLEASE STOP LOOKING AT BEYONCE RESPLENDENT IN MANY FABRICS AND COVERED IN BABIES AND PLEASE LISTEN TO THINGS ABOUT THE DARK ELVES BEING IN TOTAL WAR: WARHAMMER II.”

I thought I could pay attention to both but then I realised I was about to report that Sir Carter and Rumi were secret extra new factions in the game. Their special powers would be “being swaddled” and “enjoying what might be decorated hedge mazes”. I would play far more Warhammer if there were hedge mazes and tulle netting and Beyonce. I suppose I will now tell you about the Warhammer stuff even though ALL ELVES ARE THE WORST otherwise Alice will be all “Why is there no mention of a videogame in your videogame news post?” Let us look at a video of the newcomers to Total War: Warhammer II [official site] Read the rest of this entry »

So you could consider maybe not playing House Party

Let’s make this clear: of course there’s nothing wrong with games about sex, nor games about people trying to pair up with others to have sex. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with games being used to turn someone on. What remains the case is that it’s absolutely fine to criticise such games for being utterly terrible at it, and indeed comment on their representations of people. To loudly point out that a game is a misogynistic pile of shit is not to call for it to be banned, but simply to observe the fact. Everyone good with that? Great.

House Party [official site] is a misogynistic pile of shit. But first and foremost, it’s a terrible game. (NSFW warning: There’s some nudity in the pics below.) Read the rest of this entry »

Hitman Season One’s final Elusive Target arrives today

Ha ha ha!

Ian Hitman today gets to kill Mr Giggles 🡱 as the final one-off ‘Elusive Target’ of his episodic killing spree in Hitman [official site]. He has ten days to murder the cheery fella before he vanishes forever. IO do explictly call this “the final Elusive Target for Season One”, which would suggest that they’re still planning a second season now they have split from former owner Square Enix. They’ve never said they weren’t, mind, but it is comforting to hear IO repeat this after the uncertainty when Squeenix dumped them. Read the rest of this entry »

Mass Effect Andromeda ten-hour trial available now

perhaps you can gaze into these eyes for ten hours and discover the mysteries and desires that rest within

If you’ve been holding off on Mass Effect Andromeda [official site], which is entirely understandable whether you’re a fan of the series or not, perhaps a ten hour free trial is just what you need to decide whether the trip is worth your time and money. Previously available to EA Access subscribers, the trial is now open to everyone. It gives you ten hours of play-time, which you can spend in singleplayer (up to the first planet) or multiplayer, and saves will carry over to the full game if you choose to buy it. You’ll need Origin, EA’s digital storefront, and post-trial, the game is currently £24.99.

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The successes and failures of Civilization 6

When Sid Meier’s Civilization VI [official site] came out last October, it represented a novel take on the series, boasting two parallel tech trees and an innovative city system that broke the previous games’ monolithic metropoli into distributed districts, with attendant tile-space-management gameplay. Nine months on, I spoke to lead designer Ed Beach about the finer points of the game’s design, what needs work, and Firaxis’ approach to designing expansions and DLC.

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Itch.io tightens regulations to thwart RimWorld scammer

A special digiplace for scammers.

Digital store Itch.io is tightening its policies — just a touch! — after some high-profile naughtiness where an unknown scoundrel uploaded and sold RimWorld as their own game. Part of why Itch is so great is that it freely lets all and sundry sign up and add their games, which does also bring the risk of antics like this but the Itch team usually catch them quickly. This blaggard achieved prominence by getting the game picked up by a discount-tracking website, sending trusting bargain-hunters to buy, er, a bootleg copy of someone’s Steam RimWorld folder. Read the rest of this entry »