These two sublime puzzle titles should need no introduction, but if you're still yet to play two of the finest games of the last decade, then now is the time. The Portal bundle itself, featuring both titles, is just £4.49, and you can buy Portal 1 and 2 separately for £1.74 and £3.74 respectively.
The latest 24 hour deals at Green Man Gaming are in, and it's good news for Total War fans:
Remember to use the GMG voucher code BK0F62-EI6HXM-B8PXY4 to get an extra 22% off of these prices!
Valve Complete Pack | Green Man Gaming | £9.75
Use code: SLICKD-EALS22-OFFGMG
Cheaper than Steam, packed with Portal perfection, heaving with the history Half-Life, teeming with the tremendousness of Team Fortress, layered with the lustre of Left 4... you get the idea. The Valve Complete Pack can now be had for under a tenner on Green Man Gaming, but remember to use the code above to knock 20% off of the current price.
This is a great deal for any PC gamer yet to sample Portal's puzzling delights, as after trying the first game you'll be eager to play the second one. You have a gun that fires two portals to travel around the puzzle rooms in one of gaming's most unique experiences. The robotic voice of GLaDOS 'guiding' you through the facility is the star of the show and is brilliantly matched in the second game with the addition of Stephen Merchant. There's a lot of space out there and you'll want to see it all.
Thanks to rugbytruck at HotUkDeals.
Some of you may have read our recent interview with Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons' game director, Josef Fares. When we spoke last week, we chatted a little about consumer pre-occupation with the "length" of a game, that is to say, the time it takes to play the main part of it through from start to finish. Fares was unequivocal in his opinion on the matter: that this critical focus which attempts to determine "how long a game should be" needs to stop:
I think everyone agrees with me. It's just that someone said it, and no-one's stopped to question it. I think the press, the critics, even the community need to understand that it isn't important. Stop complaining about the length of time it takes to play a game. Why are we so focused on how long a game is? It's about the experience. You never question how long a movie is. It's a case of how good or bad it was, and that's it. The time it takes to play a game shouldn't matter in a review. Who's dictated how long or short a game should be? It's all about the experience.
It's a point I broadly agree with although, as Fares himself notes later on, that's not to say we shouldn't have large, expansive games, but rather that a game should only ever be as long as it really needs to be.
Of course, the words "budget" , "commercial appeal", and "long tail" always crop up at this juncture, and perhaps rightfully so. After all, this is an industry, one in which commerce and artistic creation must cohabit together. Retail games cost several times more than one's average cinema jaunt, and it's not unreasonable to expect some sort of longevity for one's money.Click here to read more...
Having enjoyed some contact time with Quantum Conundrum, the first person puzzler from Airtight games, I yearned to know about the dimension-defying (and adorable) experience. Who better to elaborate on the history and future of this exciting project than Kim Swift: the co-creator of Portal who's masterminded Quantum Conundrum from inception to its launch on Steam next week. Sitting down for an interview behind the closed doors of Square Enix's E3 paddock, I proceeded to quiz her about inspiration, innovation, her decision to leave Valve for pastures new and her desire to fight back against the slew of ultra-violent games that crowd the marketplace these days.
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): I'd usually start by asking you to introduce yourself, but in this case, it's unecessary. Your fame precedes you, thanks to, you know, that game you designed. So why leave Valve, and what inspired you to make Quantum Conundrum?
Kim Swift (Airtight Games): I left Valve initially to see what else was out there, I mean, I worked there for five years and the games industry is a big place! I wanted to see what else was out there, how working in a different company was, and as far as the idea for Quantum Conundrum goes, I really enjoyed working on the original Portal. It was a really fun atmosphere to work in, and I really wanted to get back into that feeling of 'small team working on something interesting.' The idea of being able to switch dimensions on the fly and using different tools to solve puzzles came to me one day - there was nothing that inspired me, I was just like, "oh hey, that would be cool!"
Dealspwn: So was there a 'Eureka! moment' where everything just clicked?
Kim Swift: Yeah, I was just walking down the street to go get some breakfast and it just occurred to me, and I kinda came to an idea in my head: "so what if I had this game and you could switch dimensions on the fly." The first dimension I came up with was actually the Fluffy dimension.
Dealspwn: It's our favourite dimension. It's so... snuggly.
Kim Swift: Yeah, so that's what inspired me to actually make the game, thinking about the Fluffy Dimension. This needs to happen!Click here to read more...
The Fluffy Dimension is a wonderful place. Everything is soft and squishy, from walls to heavy objects that suddenly become as light as a feather. Foreboding portraits suddenly display joyful scenes of marshmallow clouds and candy canes, while it's almost impossible to hurt oneself in a world of soft edges and duvet-covered surfaces. It's enough to make you never want to leave.
But leave you will, because the Fluffy Dimension is just one of four you'll encounter in Quantum Conundrum: the upcoming first-person puzzler from Airtight Games.
If the idea of first-person puzzling instantly makes you think of that Valve game, it's not by accident. Project lead Kim Swift actually worked as lead designer on Portal, and has leveraged her skill at creating intricate brainteasers into a newfound yearning for creating games aimed at broader audiences. Quantum Conundrum is the result, and it's shaping up to be a bit of a blinder ahead of its June 21st Steam launch.
Click here to read more...
Steam's Holiday Sale 2011 is in full swing, bringing a host of major reductions that may or may not be the cheapest around. We've done the legwork for you by highlighting the major savings, and we'll be on base throughout the next few days to save you some money on the run-up to Christmas.
By far the best deal of the day is Orcs Must Die!, which is down to a frankly stupid price of £2.99. Buy this sensational tower defence hybrid immediately.
Otherwise, some decent savings on the Portal series, Metro 2033 and Just Cause 2 round out the package. These deals will expire this afternoon to be replaced by a new batch, and we'll keep you updated by the wire.
Eagle-eyed reader Tsung also reminds us:
"Don't forget to add their great gift giveaway, you might be able to bag a free game today just by signing in and looking at your gifts page (little envelope top right corner of steam app). Play games like Orcs Must Die for achievements to win prizes or a lump of coal. 7 Lumps of coal = another prize."
Earlier this week, Square snapped up the rights to Kim Swift's next title and promised an official announcement later in the week. Swift, who co-created the first Portal game at Valve, has since relocated to Airtight Games, developers of the critically-panned Dark Void, where she is now working on Quantic Conundrum, a first-person puzzle platformer where alter the 'dimensions' of a room, throwing physics, gravity and even the molecular makeup of any given object out of whack.Click here for more
Artificial intelligence is a key part of any game's mechanics... but also provides epic scope for unforgettable characters in their own right. The idea of self-aware programs becoming key players in a game's narrative has persisted for years, and this week, we're going to take a look at ten of the best.
And no, GLaDOS doesn't take the top spot. Read on to find out which piece of software manages to snag first place!
Note that this list is Portal 2 Spoiler-free, though it does contain a couple of spoilers for much older games. Robots are also disqualified, sorry HK-47!
Halo's popular personality construct was always going to grace this list with her translucent presence. She's a dab hand with a MAC cannon, capable of worming her way into enemy computer systems and a fantastic source of intel for lone cyborgs behind enemy lines.
However, though we concede that she brims with sass, wit and one-liners, we can't help but notice that she's a bit of a nag. Players actually have more fun when she's not around to boss the Master Chief about, so sadly, she'll have to make do with tenth place. Plus, the level named after her could well be the lowest point of the entire Halo franchise.
Eden sits at the core of Rez; a pure and trusting AI who's tasked with documenting humanity's data flow. However, the stress causes the kind and gentle program to shut down - with her defence protocols providing a serious challenge to any hacker suicidal enough to attempt to reboot her. The penultimate stage in which her shattered consciousness is restored stands tall as one of gaming's most powerful moments, and for that, we have to concede her a place in the list.Click here to continue reading this week's Top Ten! >>
If you use The Hut's GAMEDAY code then you can cut their long running and excellent price of £9.93 by an extra pound! This takes it down to nearly £4 less than the next best.
At the risk of sounding pompous, it's hard to imagine a video game fan who hasn't already got their hands on the Orange Box; it's a practically essential purchase. Of course, Half Life 2 and the two accompanying episodes offer what many consider to be the most exquisite gaming moments ever but there is more to the Box than this. Packmates Team Fortress and Portal are also far from filler material, with the former offering some fantastic multiplayer action, while the latter is an incredibly clever single player puzzle adventure with a wicked sense of humour and some truly genius puzzles. Thanks to the gooner at HUKD!
We're mere months away from the time/space continuum-shattering Portal 2, and if you're looking to download is straight to your hard-drive upon release then Steam is the place to go, offering the join cheapest deal around. However, to sweeten the pie Steam is also offering a free copy of the original Portal with your order. If you're new to the series, it's essential you sample the first game before diving in to the second. If not for the experience, then maybe for the end credits song.
We're big Valve fans at Dealspwn, so it is with great pleasure that I inform you off a massive 79% saving on the Valve Complete Pack, which includes almost every game Valve has developed, from classics like Half-Life and Portal to popular mods-cum-full blown-titles like Counter Strike. It's a fantastic deal, and all for just £24.99. That's 22 games for almost half the price of a retail game! I could go on about the greatness of Half-Life 1 & 2, or the class and humour of Portal, or how damn addicting Left 4 Dead is. But I'll leave that for you to discover. Cheers.
Just this last Sunday, we cast our nostalgic gaze back to Goldeneye's 'Facility', a level we loved considerably. However, it's not like Bond's urinal-shattering Soviet op is the only FPS level we deem fit for a feature article. In fact, we have ten in mind, from crashing on a lost alien structure, sniping in the irradiated ruins of Chernobyl, to dropping our first companion-cube down a rift in space/time. So, and drum-roll please, Dealspwn presents the Top 10 FPS Levels!
Call of Duty has its fair share of spectacular levels, and I almost plumped for Black Ops' jaw-dropping prison break, 'Vortuka'. But, in the end, I settled for Modern Warfare's flashback to 1970s Pripyat, where a young Lieutenant Price joins the late Captain MacMilan for a special op as they track a nuclear arms deal in the hope of assassinating one Imran Zakhaev. It's a cracking level, as you sneak or crawl past enemy patrols, dropping guards with a suppressed round from your sniper rifle. Notice how hard MW2 strives, but fails, to replicate this experience?
Timesplitters 2 is simply overflowing with wacky but wonderful levels. I'm particularly partial to the wild west detour. However, I just can't overlook your trip back to 17th century France, and a cathedral overrun with zombies. It's classic Timesplitters, tongue firmly in cheek, brimming with great humour and even better design. It's tough deciding what crazy era-related adventure to decide from in TS, and in the end it was the plight of a poor hunchbacked gentleman you can rescue that swayed my hand.
Despite it's title, serious is not a word we'd use to describe the adventures of Sam Stone. It's a mad, wild ride, replete with miles long vistas, thousands of enemies, hundred foot or more tall bosses, and some of the best guns in the genre. For SS2, we settled on the 'Great Pyramid' level, where Mental's HQ, fashioned as a giant Egyptian pyramid, reveals itself to be a heavily armed, weaponised structure. It's a level chock-full of classic Serious Sam stuff, like vast environments crawling with hundreds upon hundreds of enemies hurling themselves into your sea of bullets, as the Great Pyramid itself lurks on the horizon.
If you missed your chance to get your mitts on Portal for free then you really ought to consider taking Steam up on this offer.
As well as being incredibly fun and addictive to play, Portal is one of the smartest and wittiest games I have ever played. It's packed with awesome little quirks (the ending theme alone is enough to justify a download at this price!)
If Portal was a person it would have me swooning in a dribbling puddle on the floor.
The game can be a little tricky to get your head around at first but as soon as you manage to click your mind into "Portal mode" you'll be zipping through dimensions with delight and probably find yourself continuing to think in portals even when you're far and away from your PC. The script is fantastic and is likely to have you laughing out loud on more than one occasion, particularly considering the perfect delivery from the inspired computer voice which reads it. The puzzles themselves are often ingenious and I defy you to come away and not wish fervently that you had your very own real portal gun (or a weighted companion cube to shower with love).
The only negative aspect to Portal that I can think of is its brevity; it is very short. It's unlikely to take you more than a few hours to hammer through, even if you include the special unlockable levels. Unless you're really terrible at it that is. However, considering the fact that it was originally released as little more than a bonus game on the Orange Box and is now being offered for the price of a chocolate bar and a packet of crisps, it's hard to feel too put out by its length.
Thanks to callmecheez at Hotukdeals!
The cake may be a lie but this deal is 100% legit and has to be the best offer I have ever seen, ever ever!
Until the 24th of May, Steam are offering the super awesome, fantastic Portal for just £0.00!
Portal is one of the smartest and most witty games I have ever played, not to mention fantastically fun to play. It's full of awesome little touches — at this (lack of) price it would be worth downloading for the brilliant ending-song alone.
The script is fantastic, and the computer voice which delivers it inspired. To succeed in the game you have to place yourself entirely into Portal Mode. It can seem very tricky at first but once you get the hang of the puzzle style you'll be zipping through the dimensions and finding yourself unable to get out of Portal Mode even when your computer is nowhere in sight.
There's only really one down-side to this gem and that is that it is short. Really short. Even taking into account the special levels unlocked once you complete the main game, it's unlikely to last you longer than a few hours, unless you really suck at it. But considering that it was originally released as part of the Orange Box and now you can get your mitts on it for absolutely nothing, it seems churlish to pout too much at its brevity. Let's just hope that Portal 2 will last a little longer.
Thanks to skipster3000 at Hotukdeals!
The IMDB listing for Batman: Arkham Asylum 2 suggests that the Boy Wonder will be making an appearance. Vincent Martella has been slated to provide the voice acting (fresh from his work in Final Fantasy XIII). Whether or not he'll be a playable character is not yet known, though it would open up the opportunity for cooperative play.
Mark Hamill will reprise his excellent role as the Joker, and will be joined by fellow silver screen star Bruce Greenwood as Two-Face. These two veteran actors should provide some serious clout to Rocksteady Studio's next project. [via Gossipgamers]
Usually, the words "Mac" and "Steam" are only said in the same sentence when you're getting your jacket dry-cleaned. However, Valve have announced that their digital distribution network is headed to Apple's personal computer platform along with their full range of gaming titles. It's about time that a games company showed some genuine love to the Mac crowd- after all, it'll give them something to do between pretending to write poetry in Starbucks and picking out new berets. Only joking, folks.
According to the press release, this new Apple functionality comes with a whole range of nifty new features. Both Mac and PC users will share the same multiplayer lobbies (allowing for cross-platform play); and purchased games can be downloaded on both PC and Mac with no extra charge. The most interesting new enhancement Steamplay, that takes advantage of Steam's cloud processing capability to remotely save checkpoint progress and quicksaves- meaning that you can start playing on your Macbook and finish the level on your PC desktop.
Portal 2 will be the first simultaneous PC and Mac launch for a Valve title. [Valve]
Ubisoft's DRM servers suffered a major blackout over the weekend that left thousands of Assassin's Creed 2 and Silent Hunter V players unable to connect (and thus play their legally-purchased games). A spokesman was therefore quick to leap to the defence of their draconian digital rights management protocol, offering what could honestly be the least sincere apology I've ever seen.
"Ubisoft would like to apologize to anyone who could not play Assassin's Creed 2 or Silent Hunter 5 yesterday. Servers were attacked and while the servers did not go down, service was limited. 95% of players were not affected, but a small group of players attempting to open a game session did receive denial of service errors. All players with an open session during the attack were not affected."
Whilst Ubisoft admitted that their servers were vulnerable, they were also quick to deny the existence of any playable hacked version that bypasses the DRM.
"We also confirm that, at this time, no valid cracked version of either Silent Hunter 5 or Assassin's Creed II are available"
Turns out that submarines aren't vulnerable to pirates just yet! However, don't lose sight of the fact that the hackers only attacked the servers... Ubisoft's own DRM protocol stopped gamers from simply playing offline. This situation is fast becoming a publicity nightmare for the company, and they'll soon have to decide between radically improving the system or scrapping it altogether. Or to stop developing for the PC, which may prove to be the most viable (and profitable) option considering the prevalence of piracy. [via The Guardian]
We've been covering the developing Portal ARG situation and our sequel suspicions have finally been confirmed. GameInformer has revealed that their April magazine will spill the beans on Valve's latest project, and Valve's own Doug Lombardi has told Eurogamer that Portal 2 will grace our hard drives this Halloween. The Pumpkin is a lie!
We've been hearing rumours about the addition of cooperative play in Portal 2, and Gamestop's leaked product description has finally confirmed it. We'll be seeing a dedicated cooperative campaign with two playable characters; which is very interesting considering that Valve managed to run co-op in the original Portal, but couldn't make it fun. We can't see how this will work unless one player controls portals and the other manipulates objects... an interesting prospect that may well pan out if our sources are solid. Watch this space. Or this space.
Whilst I'm quietly optimistic about the potential of Microsoft's impending motion capture peripheral, most gamers are still apprehensive about the shift in Microsoft's focus from software to hardware. The potential for shovelware and increased focus on Natal-enabled games is a genuine worry for Xbox 360 fans, but Microsoft's European head honcho is keen to allay our fears.
“Project Natal is meant to complement, not replace, the experiences on Xbox 360. We’ve reached new heights in creating a more natural and responsive gaming and entertainment experience for people of all interests and skill levels, whilst maintaining our commitment to deliver quality core games that consistently exceed expectations.”- Chris Lewis, European MS Boss
Personally, I'm not too worried about Natal distracting Microsoft's focus. Since they've delegated specific developers to creating the device, it's only distracted Peter Molyneux's focus. And if Natal keeps the increasingly deranged auteur off the streets for another year then it can only be a good thing. [MCV]
We've had our doubts about the iPad. We know what it is, though we don't yet know what it's for. However, we do know when it'll be arriving: next month.
Apple have announced that the standard and 3G versions of their new inexplicable gizmo will reach storm our beaches in late April (meaning that we'll be receiving the superior 3G version at the same time as the Americans). That means that it will be a lot faster to do... whatever it is the iPad does. [Gamesindustry.biz]
In an open letter to the Xbox Live community, Marc Whitten has announced that an update to the Xbox Live code of conduct now permits expression of race, religion, sexual orientation and nationality without being censored. Apparently, this update...
"will allow our members to more freely express their race, nationality, religion and sexual orientation in Gamertags and profiles. Under our previous policy, some of these expressions of self-identification were not allowed..."
Welcome to the 21st century, Xbox Live. Having said that, I've heard some nasty slurs online and it may be difficult to tell the genuine article apart from trolls and racists. Never mind, though: this is a step in the right direction. A step towards a genuinely tolerant online community that places sportsmanship and skill above anything else. It can't come soon enough.
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella are bringing legal action against Activision for unlawful termination and unpaid royalties. Not only that, but they're also vying for the contractual rights to the Modern Warfare brand; which could make their future company a lot of money (especially if Infinity Ward employees jump ship when their contract expires...).
Unpaid Royalties? Now that's interesting. We recently informed you that Infinity Ward hasn't received a penny of the substantial residuals generated by the billion dollar franchise, and the spectacular ousting of the leadership couldn't have come at a more suspicious time.
"Instead of thanking, lauding, or just plain paying Jason and Vince for giving Activision the most successful entertainment product ever offered to the public. Last month Activision hired lawyers to conduct a pretextual 'investigation' into unstated and unsubstantiated charges of 'insubordination' and 'breach of fiduciary duty,' which then became the grounds for their termination."- Robert Schwartz, Attorney
Hopefully these lawsuits will shed more light into the alleged "insubordination" committed by West and Zampella. We're all dying to know what they did... if anything.
Ubisoft's deeply unpopular online DRM has become a target for disenfranchised PC gamers and pirates (who claim to have hacked it within 24 hours). In an effort to both improve their public image and beef up security, Ubi has released a patch that allows disconnected players to continue from the exact place they left off rather than forcing them to return to a previous checkpoint. It also doubtlessly contains a few security upgrades.
This is a step in the right direction- but it's simply too little too late to sway the hearts and minds of the gaming public. Ubisoft have already alienated a huge proportion of their PC consumers and are going to have to seriously reconsider their DLC options to win them back. [Ubisoft]
A new Portal Patch has changed the final cutscene to bring it in line with the latest rumours. We won't give the game away, but if you don't own the PC version of Portal (or are too lazy to play Valve's masterpiece through again), then here it is. [Steam Forums]
Borderlands was recently graced with The Secret Armory of General Knoxx; a fantastic piece of DLC that expanded and improved the game experience across the board (though it did suffer from serious difficulty issues). Most gamers assumed that this would be Borderlands' swan song, but this simply isn't the case. In the latest Take Two financial earnings call, CEO Ben Feder stated:
"We will continue to support the title with more add-on content."
Groovy. As an avid Borderlands junkie, I'm delighted that my online shooter of choice is going to be supported for the foreseeable future. However, I hope that Gearbox will be free to continue with the frankly excellent-looking Alien: Colonial Marines now that Rebellion's AvP sales have been verified! [Kotaku]
Activision has been making some staggeringly brutal and deeply unpopular decisions lately. February alone has heralded studio closures, huge staff layoffs and loyal fan abuse... and it looks like Kotick's publishing juggernaut wants to kick March off with a bang. Multiple sources have reported that Infinity Ward Chief Jason West has been fired- and the entire studio put under lockdown by security guards.
When G4 reported that guards had been posted outside Infinity Ward's headquarters, many gamers assumed that it was just a publicity stunt designed to draw attention away from the US release of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. After all, Infinity Ward insiders did leak breaking news about the situation very quickly. However, West's Facebook and Linkedin profiles soon verified his changed employment status and confirmed that Activison had indeed 'cut off its nose to spite its face'.
At this stage it's difficult to know exactly why West has been given his marching orders. After all, the Modern Warfare franchise is pulling in billions of dollars for Activison. Our only clue is that a recently released Activision Annual Report details a planned HR investigation of "breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward...[that] is expected to involve the departure of key personnel and litigation." Prepare for the rumour mill to kick into overdrive for this one, but my guess would be that West kicked up a fuss about a proposed new WW2 shooter or subscription-based CoD membership. Or just asked for more money.
Whilst I've got plenty of bile to spare for gaming's emergent public enemy number one, Double Fine's Tim Schafer sums up my feelings perfectly:
"Getting mad at Activision for this kind of thing is like getting mad at an ape for throwing feces. It's just how the beast communicates."- Twitter announcement
Millions of original PS3 owners were dismayed, horrified and outraged by yesterday's crippling calendar bug that rendered their consoles practically inoperable. However, the phantom 'leap day' is now over... as is the nightmare. The "ApocalyPS3" has officially ended, folks: it's time to get back into Heavy Rain!
"We are aware that the internal clock functionality in the PS3 units other than the slim model, recognized the year 2010 as a leap year. Having the internal clock date change from February 29 to March 1 (both GMT), we have verified that the symptoms are now resolved and that users are able to use their PS3 normally."- Official Sony Blog
It's important not to blow this single event out of proportion- though I wonder if there are any other ticking time bombs hidden away in the impenetrable XMB? See you next leap year!
A recent Portal patch delivered a seemingly innocuous Steam achievement that rewards gamers for listening to a set of new radio transmissions. However, the strange sounds played by each radio actually hide encoded images which become apparent through the cunning application of stenography. These images, in turn, contain a series of numbers, letters and bizarre imagery- all of which are stamped with the Aperture Science Logo.
The latest development is that the clues have lead intrepid online sleuths to a BBS modem located in Seattle that proffered up a stream of ASCII artwork upon connection. Streamlining this art has produced this epic picture, which seems to contain screenshots and concept art for a new Valve title. Could it be Portal II? Half Life 2 Episode 3? A crossover?!