FiringSquad: In terms of online multiplayer, what features and modes will be available?
Michael Booth: Left 4 Dead is designed as a co-operative experience from the ground up. As such, all modes and features are available on- and offline. In addition, we're working with Valve to expand Steam and Source's out-of-game features, adding stats and ranking functionalities. So, your L4D successes (and failures) will go down on your permanent record and travel with you from server to server, building up a kind of "reputation" for others to see.
FiringSquad: How will the game's AI work when a person plays a single player game of Left 4 Dead?
Michael Booth: At the core of Left 4 Dead's gameplay is a set of technologies we refer to as "The Director." Whether you're playing a game with 8 humans filling out the available roles or playing in "single player" mode, The Director is in charge of monitoring the pacing of the game. So, for example, if your team has been bombarded with Infected hordes and bosses, The Director will schedule a break in the action. If your team is chewing through Infected like bubble gum, The Director will send a few Boss Infected your way, and so on. And all of this is done procedurally to insure no play sessions are alike -- there are no triggers, generators, special flags, or other human-placed information in the environment that specify where to place the Infected. As a result, the Survivor team can never predict when or where they will encounter anything.
FiringSquad: What other unique gameplay elements will Left 4 Dead have?
Michael Booth: As one of the first titles developed expressly as a co-operative experience, we've included several subtle gameplay elements unique to L4D that we've found to be very successful with players. These include the ability to revive a fellow survivor, helping someone hanging from a ledge, shooting off the tongue of a Smoker attempting to asphyxiate one of your friends, knocking a Hunter off of a friend who he has pinned to the ground and is shredding to bits, and sharing items with teammates. Other cooperative systems include an integrated voting system, and a context-sensitive vocalization system that enhances communications between Survivors.
FiringSquad: Are there any new graphical features that are being put into the Source engine for the game?
Michael Booth: In addition to the new stats and ranking features, we're also working with Valve to include support for multi-core processors. We've added physics-based animation to Source for things such as the Boomer's jiggly belly full of blood, flexible hair that moves naturally, and floppy bits of clothing. We're also leveraging the new particle system coming to Source for enhanced effects. That's just some of what's coming in the first release.
FiringSquad: After the game is released on the PC will there be any additional content released for Left 4 Dead as has been the case for Counter-Strike Source?
Michael Booth: Absolutely. We already have ideas for additional missions, features, and content that we hope to ship in future releases/updates to Left 4 Dead. In addition, an L4D-specific update will be made to the Source SDK so members of the community can make their own missions, characters, and L4D MOD content.
FiringSquad: The game is also due out for the Xbox 360 several months after the PC release. Are there any plans to support Microsoft's plans for Live Anywhere and have players from two versions play against each other?
Michael Booth: We haven't yet revealed any details regarding the 360 version just yet. Please stay tuned for more.
FiringSquad: Finally is there anything else you wish to say about Left 4 Dead?
Michael Booth: Everyone at Turtle Rock Studios has been excited to see the encouraging feedback from the growing Left 4 Dead community. Thanks to everyone for their interest and suggestions, and keep them coming!
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Preview Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is a standalone expansion pack and follow-up to developer Stardock's previous game in the series, subtitled War of Magic. That 4X strategy game was highly-anticipated and slated to compete with games such as Sid Meier's Civilization V for your turn-based strategy play-time, but was released in an incredibly broken and unfinished state that it never fully recovered from. Lead designer Brad Wardell apologized profusely to fans and set out with his team to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Almost two years later, the result of that proverbial mulligan is currently undergoing closed beta testing. In today's article, Will reports his thoughts on how Fallen Enchantress is shaping up, and will tell you whether or not you should be keeping an eye on it as it nears release later this year.
The Elder Scrolls Online Details Leak - Should Fans Be Excited? The Elder Scrolls Online, long rumored to be in development, was officially announced yesterday. Still in development at Zenimax Online Studios, this MMO aims to combine traditional genre mechanics with the spirit and sensibilities, not to mention setting and lore, of the immensely popular series of single-player RPGs. Though the game is set for a full unveiling in the next issue of Game Informer magazine, what appears to be the entire cover story article has been leaked to the interwebs already. In today's article, you'll find summary and analysis of all the alleged details, as well as feast your eyes on the very first screenshots and concept art from the game. Of course, the burning question now is, should you be excited?
ANNO 2070 Review
The year is 2070. The majority of life on Earth was devastated when global sea levels surged after the melting of the polar ice caps. Swaths of previously habitable land are now deep underwater, and sovereign nations are a relic of the past. But there is still hope...
This city-building RTS/simulation game from Ubisoft tasks you with re-colonizing what little land areas are left on the planet following a global warming apocalypse. Does it have what it takes to be worthy of your time and money, or should it be cast out to sea with the rest of civilization? Find out in today's review!
Mass Effect 3 PC Review
This latest release from EA/BioWare is the final entry in their trilogy of sci-fi action RPGs, putting you in a dire situation: rally the troops to save Earth at all costs. There was a lot of hype surrounding the final act of what has been a vast and highly-customizable story-telling experience, and the reception among many hardcore fans has been less than stellar. Even people that haven't played the game have probably heard about all the nerd rage going on over Mass Effect 3's ending...
If you want to cut through all the crap and find out whether or not the rest of ME3 is worth playing, come check out Will's spoiler-free take on the first blockbuster game release of 2012.
Batman: Arkham City PC Review Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to 2009’s smash-hit action game Batman: Arkham Asylum. As the name suggests, you will be reprising your role as the Caped Crusader and going against an even larger 'prison' filled with Gotham's criminals and villains. A textbook example on how to do a proper sequel, Arkham City takes what worked in the original, excised or improved upon what didn’t, and elevated everything to an even greater scope. The PC version suffered from a few months of delay, but in that time, Rocksteady worked closely to NVIDIA to implement some familiar technologies from the last game, such as PhysX and 3D Vision, along with new DirectX 11 optimizations. But how well was the whole package executed? Read on to find out!
Saints Row: The Third PC Review Saints Row is one of most unique series of games to build upon the open-world action template forged by Grand Theft Auto, and has met with plenty of critical and commercial success since it began on consoles back in 2006. This latest iteration, titled Saints Row: The Third promises the most outlandish fun and freedom of customization of them all, and in a much more PC-friendly package than its predecessor. Does it live up to those expectations and, more importantly, is it worth the price of admission? Find out in Will's latest review!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC Review The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is Bethesda Softworks’ latest offering in their series of epic fantasy RPGs, as well as one of the most highly-anticipated PC titles of 2011. As the Dovahkiin, or Dragonborn, prepare to take the fight to the mythical beasts that have returned to the realm after centuries of slumber, all the while exploring a huge and highly-detailed open world.
The PC version of the game promises enhanced graphical fidelity, standard RPG trimmings such as hotkeys and quick-save, as well as unbridled mod support, something we’ll all be thankful for once they release that SDK. Skyrim has already sold millions of copies and set records for play-time on Steam... Find out why in today's review, which happens to be one of the biggest and most in-depth articles on the subject out there!
L.A. Noire Complete Edition PC Review L.A. Noire, as the name clearly states, is a video game built on the tropes of one of the greatest periods of American cinema: film noir. Developed by the now defunct Australian developer Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, this title has been out on consoles for a full six months before finally making its way to the PC. This “Complete Edition” of the game features improved graphics, keyboard/mouse controls, and every bit of previously-released DLC for free. But was it truly worth the wait? Read on and find out!
Mass Effect 3 PC Demo Impressions Mass Effect 3, EA/BioWare's third iteration in their series of sci-fi action RPGs and one of the most anticipated titles of the year, is fast approaching its March 6th release. This week, though, they released a playable demo on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 that offers a glimpse into both the single-player and multi-player portions of the full game.
Whether you're waiting impatiently for your download to finish or don't have the time to check it out yourself, go ahead and read some impressions of the demo from resident FSers Synch and Vandy in today's article!
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Xbox 360 Review
The self-appointed "most anticipated game in history" launched worldwide this past Tuesday. Why, it's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, of course (of course), what else? Unsurprisingly, the military FPS debate between this and Battlefield 3 rages on, but now that both have been released, surely we can take a look and objectively evaluate them both? Luke's taken the Xbox version of MW3 for a spin this week, so to find out what he thinks of it in today's review!