The Bethesda Blog has announced that the first DLC release for last month's stealth-action game will be arriving on December 11th. Titled Dunwall City Trials, this add-on content for Arkane Studios' Dishonored will feature ten new challenge maps on which to test your supernatural assassin skills, including a wave-based arena, race to the finish, and "gravity-defying" sequence of drop-down kills.
This challenge maps DLC will cost $4.99 or 400 MS Points when it's released in two weeks. Bethesda had previously announced that it will be followed next year by at least two more DLC add-ons, those featuring actual additional story content. One focuses on Daud, the leader of the antagonist group of assassins known as The Whalers, who plays a significant role in the base game's storyline and will likely become a playable character.
Mojang AB, the development studio founded by famed indie developer Markus 'Notch' Persson, announced today that mega-hit game about blocks Minecraft has sold more than 8 million copies on PC. This news comes just before the title's first anniversary, as release version 1.0 was let loose on the world last November. Though the game was for sale and already becoming popular before that point, we know that 4 million of those sales have occurred in the past year alone, at the full price of $25.
As Wikipedia's list of best-selling PC games now notes, this new milestone puts Minecraft in the Top 10 along with games such as StarCraft, The Sims, Half-Life, Diablo 3, and Battlefield 3. This honor is probably more symbolic than anything, however, since the rise of digital distribution means such publicly-available sales figures are not always a reliable measurement. Still, good on them!
I was already looking forward to this game enough that I had pre-ordered weeks ago, but once the reviews landed a couple of days ago and heralded a triumphant return of the stealth-action FPS, I was very eager to start playing ASAP last night. So, come 9PM PDT, I jumped through the usual Steam hoops to get a pre-loaded game to actually launch (it seems they've tried to make it better, but I still had to restart) and spent the following 4-1/2ish hours making my way through Dishonored's first mission.
The art style caught me off-guard at first -- in avoiding recent media to keep things fresh, I think I forgot what it looked like. The textures are that sort of hand-painted pastel reminiscent of Team Fortress 2, which does a decent job hiding the fact that they're mostly pretty low-detail. Right away, I disabled most of the UI helper elements because I wanted an experience more like Morrowind, not Oblivion. You can tell the ability to do so wasn't just to placate we more dedicated gamer folk; they put so much detail into the level design that you can actually read street signs, etc. to find your way around in the absence of magic floating objective markers.
After the linear introductory segments, the first proper mission is where the game completely opens up. It's not an open-world, per se, but like Deus Ex, you have multiple, very large explorable areas that contain hidden collectibles to power up with, as well as optional side quests. The main "zone" is actually a sort of neutral ground, where enemies won't just attack you on sight. Gang members and guards alike will tell you to keep your distance, or maybe even give you a shove if you get too close. At which point they may or may not get a blade in their throat...
Yes, I couldn't resist the bloodshed. I try to be sneaky, because they've made ample provisions for that route of play and it's generally more efficient and interesting that way ("Hmm, there's a group of bad guys in my way down there... Do I drop down and sword-fight with them or figure out how to let the herd of rabid rats out of that closet for a distraction?"), but I'm not avoiding combat by any means. I'll do lethal takedowns wherever I need to, and sometimes I get into brawls because I screwed up my stealth and was detected. Aside from genuinely having gotten out of the habit of quick-saving and -loading in games lately, I don't want to be lame and try over and over again to get something perfect.
Another aspect of taking your time and really immersing yourself in this very well thought out world is reading/listening up on all the lore around you. Books and notes and journals and even voice recordings are scattered all over the place, fleshing out an industrial renaissance culture where the main source of food and energy is whales, a fanatical religious sect struggles to keep the influence of a mysterious Outsider at bay, and of course the tyrannical government tries to save itself from the horrific plague afflicting its citizens. Apparently, things will only get much worse as I sew Chaos throughout... And I can't wait to see it.
In case you forgot, this is the new online FPS project from the guys behind S.T.A.L.K.E.R., set into motion after the sequel in that highly-lauded series was canned. Here various members of newly-formed dev studio Vostok Games discuss a wide range of features and design elements including the layout of their first finished map, graphics capabilities, and how they're going to deal with lag and hackers. All of this with some lovely in-game footage. Prepare for subtitles:
Miner Wars 2081 has just entered the closed beta phase, which means it is nearly feature complete. You can get early access to the 10-15 hour campaign, as well as sandbox exploration and multiplayer modes, by pre-ordering the game for $20 (a 50% pre-release discount). The following trailer shows off four developers' perspectives as they play through a cooperative mission: