Doom’s single-player campaign around 13 hours, according to id

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I’ve been thinking about the original Doom a lot lately, thanks to revealing retrospectives including Double Fine’s exhaustive Devs Play, and that new Doom WAD John Romero released last month. You’ll forgive me if I call the new Doom ‘Doom 4’ then, as it’s current title is a little insulting towards a classic. The latest news about Doom 4 is that it won’t feature a disappointingly short single-player campaign—according to id Software anyway. They reckon it will last you around 13 of your Earth hours, which would be a damned good length for any FPS these days.

Star Citizen single-player and persistent universe will be available separately

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Roberts Space Industries has announced an update to Star Citizen’s purchase options, allowing potential spacefarers to opt into the single-player content exclusively. Basically, $45 gets you either the “Squadron 42” campaign or the core Star Citizen offering, which is the persistent, MMO-like component. Once you’ve bought either, the other can be had for $15 – meaning everything can be purchased for $60 (though that’s subject to change).

Still, the two packages are part of the same game, RSI insists, and will still influence each other in the event users opt to buy both down the track. “The package split does not change the fact that Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are part of the same game universe, or the fact that the games are functionally connected,” the announcement reads.

“You will access Squadron 42 through the same game client. And your performance in Squadron 42 will still have an impact on your career in the persistent universe, whether you buy both segments together or if you choose to add one further down the line.” Those who purchase Squadron 42 alone will still have access to Arena Commander.

The move

Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono apologises for SFV server issues

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Street Fighter 5 has escaped from its cosy review environment and straight into the ignominy that accompanies the servers not working. Errors 21400, 10007 and 2100d have been making life miserable for many players who would like to play their new game online, to the degree that Capcom producer Yoshinori Ono has issued an apology

Capcom is now reporting that the servers are back up, although users may experience intermittent disconnects. Note Ono’s use of “the most”, too: though server problems are the most frustrating problem, Street Fighter is being hammered with negative Steam reviews—54% negative, in fact. Though there’s the standard self-righteous internet rage in there, themes are emerging in the anger: the lack of DirectInput controller support; no ability to rebind keys; a perceived lightness of content.

Our own fighting game guru, Nathan, was less than impressed with Street Fighter 5’s roughness in our review-in-progress, but what have your experiences been? Can you get online? Do its features meet your needs?

Quantum Break won’t be available on Steam

Xbox games coming to PC is good news for anyone who doesn’t want to cough up cash for a console, but what’s the catch? It turns out there is a catch in the case of Quantum Break, but it’s arguably not a massive one. According to Xbox marketing guy Aaron Greenberg speaking on a recent Major Nelson podcast, Quantum Break won’t be available on Steam.

“Quantum Break on Windows 10 is a Windows Store exclusive,” Greenberg said unambiguously. He also mentioned that Xbox achievements will carry between Windows 10 and Xbox One, as the game will share save files across the platforms.

It makes sense that Microsoft wouldn’t want to sell a first-party game through a competing storefront, though the move is interesting in light of comments made by Xbox senior director for PC gaming Kevin Unangst last year. “We are not intending to compete with Steam,” Unangst told Ian. “If anything, we want Steam to be even more successful—they’ve done great things for PC gamers in terms of having a single store.”

He continued: “Over time do we want more developers to come over to our store and offer it in addition to Steam? Absolutely. Is competition good for people? Absolutely. But our

Rocket League player count may increase in the future, dev hints

Rocket League is already pretty intense as a 3v3 experience, and the 4v4 is a nerve-wracking mode for punishment seeking petrol heads. Nevertheless, Psyonix won’t rule out increasing the player count even more, according to the studio’s Vice President Jeremy Dunham. In an interview on the Major Nelson podcast, Dunham said they might return to the idea one day

We experimented with larger player counts but it’s too crazy,” Dunham said. “Maybe one day we’ll revisit it if we decide to go with bigger stadiums. But for now, more than 4v4 we think takes a little bit away from the enjoyment of the game. It gets a little too crazy.”

It’d be good for a laugh though, right? Thanks to what appears to be a matchmaking bug, you can actually watch a 5v5 match below (albeit on PS4), and while it doesn’t look terrible, those two extra vehicles make the field look much more crowded.

Rise of the Tomb Raider wins 2016 Writers Guild award

The jury has decided, and Rise of the Tomb Raider was the best written videogame of 2015, according to the Writer’s Guild of America. Judged by the Videogame Writers Caucus, the nominees also included Pillars of Eternity, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Quite how the caucus arrived at the conclusion that Rise of the Tomb Raider was better written than The Witcher 3 is beyond me, but hey: opinions are beautiful unique snowflakes and everyone ought to cherish their own until the end of days. I will do mine, don’t you worry!

Nominated games had to be released between December 1, 2014 and November 30, 2015. Importantly, studios and / or publishers need to submit in order to be considered for the award, meaning the list of nominees is limited to those companies that wish to partake in the proceedings.

The creative folk honoured by the award include lead narrative designer John Stafford, narrative designer Cameron Suey, lead writer Rhianna Pratchett and additional writer Philip Gelatt.

New DayZ renderer gets a test drive

A new renderer has been top of DayZ players’ wishlists almost since it entered Early Access in 2013. DayZ tends to chug on most hardware in any built-up area—the rendering is tied to the simulation, so more to simulate means spikier motion, regardless of graphics settings. For the first time, Lead Producer Brian Hicks has shown off what some were beginning to believe was a myth. It has a way to go before it reaches the public experimental build, but the DirectX 11 Enfusion Engine renderer is a noticeable improvement.

Rain, everyone’s favourite weather effect, is denser, bleaker and much more wet, falling in sheets instead of specks and, if you can believe it, no longer ignoring roofs. Watch until after the end of Hicks’ preview and you’ll see him picking off zombies that emerge from the deluge as grim, uncertain shapes. Recording brings the framerate down on both the DX9 renderer and the new Enfusion renderer of course, but we’re told that the drop is considerably smaller with the new tech.

Once the renderer goes live, we’ll finally be able to use those GPUs we’ve got sitting around.

Player beats Dark Souls without being hit

Once upon a time, beating Gwyn,  Dark Souls’ final boss, was itself a badge of honour. It was no small thing to have bested the unofficial Hardest Game. These days it takes a little more to impress. Some people try ‘onebro’ runs, taking on Dark Souls without leveling up. Others use Rock Band controllers because they like to feel themselves going hollow in real life too. Last year, speedrunner Otsunari beat the game without taking damage. These achievements have now been eclipsed by The_Happy_Hobbit’s spectacular 4.5-hour run in which he never gets hit.

Let’s clarify: even blocking would contravene a no-hit run. Hobbit did away with armour and opted for a range of intimidating weapons that shine when swung with two hands, dodging every single incoming hit. The exceptions are the final boss fight against Gwyn, in which he bravely parried Gywn’s gargantuan flaming sword, and occasional quits and reloads to reset enemies and boss encounters gone wrong (but no save files were altered at any point). Environmental damage, like falling and poison, was considered a-okay so long as it wasn’t part of an enemy attack. The scripted death that forms part of the Seath the Scaleless fight was also ignored.

Street Fighter 5 coming to Linux and SteamOS in spring

Linux users might have been feeling a little neglected after Warner Bros. abandoned the Batman: Arkham Knight port a fortnight ago. Capcom, however, is feeling a little braver, and has released a sliver of information on the promised SteamOS and Linux release of Street Fighter 5 after long silence on the matter despite the impending PC launch: ‘spring’.

The spring release will see any PC Street Fighter 5 owner gifted the new version free of charge and implement Steam controller compatibility too. Capcom are clearly determined to grow the Street Fighter community however possible—this latest announcement comes as Capcom is pushing its  introductory series on the street fighters themselves.

HItman GO coming to Steam February 23

At its best, Hitman is a puzzle game. You’re given your tools, a map populated with opportunities and AI that behaves in a dynamic but predictable way, then it pipes down and lets you figure out what to do with them. The mobile game, Hitman GO, is that same problem-solving distilled down to its fundaments, with movement restricted to set paths. It’s coming to Steam, with PS4/PS Vita cross-buy, on February 23 in the US and February 24 in the EU.

It’s been available on the Windows Store since early last year, but Square Enix is opening it up to those of us still loyal to Windows 7. And this is the Definitive Edition—all extra maps that were in-app purchases in the first version, like Blood Money’s Paris Opera, are included, and the visuals have been spruced up. ‘Quaint’ and ‘charming’ aren’t typically words I use in conjunction with Agent 47, but they’re appropriate here

The Ship: Remasted has been delayed

The Ship: Remasted, the HD remake of the 2006 multiplayer murder-mystery game of (almost) the same name, was supposed to be out on Early Access today. That date was confirmed as recently as last Friday, February 12—just three days ago. But if you’ve been waiting for it to happen, you will likely have noticed by now that it hasn’t

The original plan was to release the game with only LAN support for the first few weeks, but the response to that idea was less than universally positive, and developer Blazing Griffin was worried about how that might affect the game’s fortunes over the long-term. It has thus decided to hold off for another week in order to get online play working.

“Thanks to everyone for their comments and also for voicing your concerns. Launching a game like this is a delicate process and we were also concerned about the impact of negative reviews will have on the future of the game,” the studio wrote in an update posted today. “We did feel that on balance there were more benefits to launching today than later, but given the feedback from the community, we’ve moved to a more

XCOM 2 post-mission loading can be skipped, but not without risk

You may have heard recently that hitting the caps lock key during the XCOM 2 post-mission screens can cause the game to load much more quickly than it normally does. And it’s true! I can’t confirm this personally because I don’t have XCOM 2, but developer Firaxis recently told Eurogamer that it is in fact a real thing: Hitting caps lock at the proper time will cause the game to advance almost immediately. But every yin has a yang, as they say, and in this case those dramatically improved loading times could lead to crashes.

“Hitting the key, through a rube-goldberg-esque series of events, forces all outstanding load requests to be filled immediately in a single frame. This causes a massive hitch, and potentially could crash the game,” the studio explained. “If you don’t care about those adverse effects the synchronous load is faster.”

It’s a risk that some players are willing to take, because despite the fact that XCOM 2 is an extremely good game, it does suffer from a number of rather significant technical and performance issues. Publisher 2K told us last week that it is “looking into” the complaints, and committed (albeit with

The six-minute preview of Telltale’s three-part “mini-series”

adventure The Walking Dead: Michonne covers what is clearly the game’s tutorial, intended to help players become accustomed to its mechanics without burying them in decisions or details about the story. But it also sets a tone that, if you’re at all familiar with the series, is about as happy as you’d expect.

Michonne, who’s portrayed in the game by Samira Wiley of Orange is the New Black fame, lost her family to the zombie apocalypse in a very literal sense: She was out of town when the outbreak occurred, leaving her two young daughters in the care of a nanny, and doesn’t know (and likely never will) what fate ultimately befell them. As you can see in the video, it weighs upon her

Far Cry Primal trailer reveals “Legend of the Mammoth” gameplay

The “Legend of the Mammoth” preorder bonus for Far Cry Primal is a series of three missions in which you drink the shaman’s concoction, get super-duper high, and then become an “almighty mammoth”—within the confines of your primitive, drug-addled mind, I’m assuming—and stomp your enemies into paste. It was actually announced last October, but today we finally get to have a look at it.

Legend of the Mammoth includes three missions, called Duel of Beasts, Hunt the Hunters, and The Trapped Elder. None of them appear to be especially subtle in terms of gameplay, which I suppose isn’t surprising given that they’re all played from the perspective of a furry mega-elephant with anger issues. You will stomp, you will gore, you will occasional trumpet to remind everyone nearby of your awesome presence, and you will ultimately go extinct during the Holocene epoch, about ten thousand years ago, give or take a millennium or two. Sorry guys, you had the big bodies but we’ve got the big brains.

It looks pretty much like a prehistoric take on FPS levels that put players inside of tanks or power armor so they can romp through hordes of enemies with

Free American Truck Simulator update adds a Kenworth, reduces fines

If you’ve ever wanted to haul logs down the hammer lane behind the wheel of a K-whopper long-nose, then you better get your ears on, good buddy, because I’ve got some news you’re going to want to hear. American Truck Simulator developer SCS Software has released a free update that adds the legendary Kenworth W900 to the game, and dials back the penalties for doing bad things with it.

SCS said in the update announcement that there have been quite a number of complaints about the “large fines” imposed on players for breaking the various rules of the road. Hard-core digital truckers might appreciate that nod to realism, but the studio decided that “it’s not really a good idea to intimidate people coming fresh to the game with crippling fines.” The update released today thus makes early-game fines “considerably lower,” and then raises them in concert with player level and, presumably, skill.

Speeding detection has been changed as well, and will now give digital drivers more time to avoid becoming bear bait. The “turn on red” feature has also been improved to ensure that you won’t get busted for turning right on a red, as long

The great Euro Truck Simulator 2 road trip

My journey begins in Odense, Denmark—the southernmost city in Euro Truck Simulator 2’s new Scandinavia DLC. It’s the third largest Danish city and was once ruled by Canute IV, the last Viking king. My road trip will take me through Denmark, over to Sweden, and up to Norway. There’s no way to set the GPS in Euro Truck if you’re not on a delivery, so I’ll be navigating entirely with a map and road signs. I have no idea how long it’ll take, but I’m sure I’ll see some amazing scenery along the way. Or maybe just a load of motorways.

My bright red DAF XF Euro 6—a modest but reliable truck—pulls away from Odense and I head east towards Copenhagen, or København as the Danes call it. To reach the capital I’ll need to cross the Great Belt Fixed Link, or Storebæltsforbindelsen, a bridge that connects the islands of Zealand and Funen. It’s not long before I see its two great towers in the distance, and as I cross it, ‘What a Feeling’ from Flashdance plays on the Danish radio station I’m tuned to. I’m feeling good. Spirits are high.

I make my way across

Kojima meets Norman Reedus for ‘update’

Look, I know I’m skirting the definition of ‘news’ here, but allow yourself to indulge your hype-fuelled inner child for a moment and have a gander at Hideo Kojima’s latest tweet, then I can go back to telling you about release dates and improbable feats in Dark Souls.

Yes, Kojima is a master of publicity and the bane of Konami PRs, but he could be teasing an actual thing as opposed to his own Kojima-brand mystique. Norman Reedus, as you will likely know, was the star of Kojima-Guillermo Del Toro horror spectacular Silent Hills before it was canned. That implosion caused Del Toro, in an interview with Playboy, to swear off making games for good, “otherwise, I’ll join someone and his house will explode, or something.”

However, in two days’ time, on February 18, Kojima and Del Toro will be holding a joint talk at the DICE Awards, purportedly to revisit fond memories. Could the proximity of Kojima’s catch-up with Reedus be coincidence? Calculated PR stunt? First hints at a revived Silent Hills-alike which doubles as a calculated PR stunt?

Rocket League patched to ban file-fiddlers

I find  the inclusion of the Wasteland arena in Rocket League’s competitive playlists questionable—it doesn’t make sense to me that a lone, non-standard map should be included in a highly regular, sports-like format. Its like playing one in every five NFL matches at The Oval. Some people are bothered by the wide, sloped Wasteland map more than me, it seems, and they’ve been deleting its files to avoid it. This, Psyonix has declared, is just not cricket.

Patch 1.12 is in place, meaning that anybody found to have fiddled with their game files will receive an automatic time-limited matchmaking ban, giving them a chance to sheepishly verify the integrity of their game cache.

Reaction on the Steam forums is mixed, with some indulging their caps lock to demand Wasteland’s removal and others simply sick of hearing it.

Also in the patch is a handful of bugfixes:

  • Skill Rating calculation has been fixed on the League Rankings screen and now accurately reflects your MMR
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Ranked Reconnect popup to appear improperly during gameplay
  • Fixed an issue that caused players to lose input in the Muting menu
  • Competitive games are now properly labeled on

Player beats Dark Souls without being hit

Once upon a time, beating Gwyn,  Dark Souls’ final boss, was itself a badge of honour. It was no small thing to have bested the unofficial Hardest Game. These days it takes a little more to impress. Some people try ‘onebro’ runs, taking on Dark Souls without leveling up. Others use Rock Band controllers because they like to feel themselves going hollow in real life too. Last year, speedrunner Otsunari beat the game without taking damage. These achievements have now been eclipsed by The_Happy_Hobbit’s spectacular 4.5-hour run in which he never gets hit.

Let’s clarify: even blocking would contravene a no-hit run. Hobbit did away with armour and opted for a range of intimidating weapons that shine when swung with two hands, dodging every single incoming hit. The exceptions are the final boss fight against Gwyn, in which he bravely parried Gywn’s gargantuan flaming sword, and occasional quits and reloads to reset enemies and boss encounters gone wrong (but no save files were altered at any point). Environmental damage, like falling and poison, was considered a-okay so long as it wasn’t part of an enemy attack. The scripted death that forms part of the Seath the Scaleless fight was also ignored.

X COM 2 post-mission loading can be skipped, but not without risk

You may have heard recently that hitting the caps lock key during the XCOM 2 post-mission screens can cause the game to load much more quickly than it normally does. And it’s true! I can’t confirm this personally because I don’t have XCOM 2, but developer Firaxis recently told Eurogamer that it is in fact a real thing: Hitting caps lock at the proper time will cause the game to advance almost immediately. But every yin has a yang, as they say, and in this case those dramatically improved loading times could lead to crashes.

“Hitting the key, through a rube-goldberg-esque series of events, forces all outstanding load requests to be filled immediately in a single frame. This causes a massive hitch, and potentially could crash the game,” the studio explained. “If you don’t care about those adverse effects the synchronous load is faster.”

It’s a risk that some players are willing to take, because despite the fact that XCOM 2 is an extremely good game, it does suffer from a number of rather significant technical and performance issues. Publisher 2K told us last week that it is “looking into” the complaints, and committed (albeit with