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.

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 goal right now isn’t to do anything else other than support Steam and help it run great on Windows 10.”

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.

This was all a bit easy, of course, so the run was no-magic-allowed. I am off to wallow in my own inadequacy.

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 suitable solution.”

“Relay server functionality” will go live today for testers, and while bandwidth limitations mean it’s currently capped to four player games, it will allow them to play online without requiring any third-party services. The studio said it hopes to have that limit increased soon, and is also still working on dedicated server support, which it expects to have ready “within a few weeks,” as originally planned.

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 no specifics) to improving the game in future patches. For now, you have the option to roll the dice if you just can’t stand all the waiting, and you may want to give the “Stop Wasting My Time” mod a look as well. It speeds up the in-game action by removing most of the brief-but-cumulatively-annoying pauses that occur after firing weapons, killing enemies, or going into cover