Batman: Arkham City is the best video game I’ve played in recent memory. Mass Effect 2 and Portal 2 are close contenders, but Arkham City still takes the top spot. I don’t think I’ve been quite as enthralled by a game since Half-Life 2 came out. They’ve captured the spirit of Batman perfectly, distilling the Dark Knight and his gallery of villains to their essence.
The Penny Arcade Report has a fascinating interview up with Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director of Valve Software, the company behind Half-Life, Portal, Left for Dead, and the Steam gaming platform. Newell talks about everything from wearable computing to DRM. The “Where is Half-Life 2: Episode 3/Half-Life 3?” question is only referenced obliquely, and Newell pretty much confirmed that they haven’t announced anything because they’re not far enough along with whatever Half-Life follow-up they’re working on:
[...][P]art of the reason that we backed off talking so much about what was happening in the future is that when we’ve done that in the past, you know, with Half Life 1 it was a year after we originally said it would be, Half Life 2 basically if you go and read the forum posts apparently took us fifty or sixty years to get done so we’re trying to be careful not to get people too excited and then have to go and disappoint them. So we’re sort of reacting in the other direction and saying “okay, well let’s have things a little more baked before we start getting people all excited about it.
Half-Life 3 aside, this interview seems to imply that Valve is more focused on the big picture — on delivering something new and game-changing — than on producing a Half-Life follow-up, which might be a great thing. The Penny Arcade Report also has a photo tour of Valve’s offices, which will make you hate your guidance counselor/college adviser for not explaining that working for a video game company was a viable, lucrative, satisfying career.
Remember when we posted that Half-Life 3 t-shirt a while back? That shirt and a few other subtle rumors (including tweets from people allegedly connected to Valve Software, the makers of Half-Life, led to an increasing conviction on the interwebs that the release of Half-Life 3 is imminent.
A few days ago, Chet Faliszek, a Valve writer, wrote on the official Steam forums that all of the rumors were false.
So the question remains: what is going on with the Half-Life franchise?
ForeverGeek has a great summary of the happenings, but unfortunately for fans, no one has the real scoop. It’s getting to the point where Valve needs to seriously consider whether their lack of communication of any kind with fans is good for the franchise, particularly on as long a timeline as this.
That’s right, Kotaku has confirmed…the existence of a Half-Life 3 t-shirt.
What’s bothersome to me, and the gaming community as a whole, I have no doubt, is that this is actually the first real news of any kind related to the next installment of Half-Life we’ve had in years.
Kotaku seems to have confirmed it’s real, but knows nothing more. So what’s going on? Is the long-awaited Half-Life 2: Episode 3 still forthcoming, with HL3 being developed as a follow up? Or did Valve simply roll the Ep.3 development into HL3? Either way, Valve’s becoming a bit George R. R. Martin-ish with their productivity and progress updates. We’ll just have to hope the wait is worth it. They’ve always pushed the envelope technically and creatively with this games, setting new standards as they went, so I’ll trust them. For now.
A few chapters into Ready Player One, I felt that rare surge of envy that all aspiring writers have felt at least once: I wish I’d written this. The near-future world Ernest Cline created in this, his first novel, is a vision of the future many geeks, particularly of a certain generation, have been dreaming of for decades. Science fiction promised us virtual reality, damn it, and reality has yet to deliver. We should be jacked into the Matrix by now, not surfing mediocre Facebook pages, but a full decade into the 21st Century, we’re still confined to a 2D, HTML-driven, textual online landscape that seems to have nothing in common with the virtual future we all imagined we’d be enjoying at this point.
In a recent article entitled “Why a Killer Deal to Turn the Hit Video Game Assassin’s Creed Into a Movie Has Shocked Hollywood,” Vulture’s Claude Brodesser-Akner reported on an unusual deal between Ubisoft, the creator and publisher of the Assassin’s Creed series of video games, and Sony to make a movie based on the games. Here’s what you need to know:
This is why I’m not even going to bother to pick up Dark Souls, the sequel to Demon Souls by From Software / Namco Bandai:
I mean, it wears you down, it really does. Painstakingly working your way through half an hour’s worth of traps and pernickety fights in order to be crushed by a boulder you couldn’t have known was coming and knowing you’ve now got to do that painstaking half hour again? I play computer games to relax, you know? I admire the test, I do, but I’m not sure I’ve got the time or energy any more to be tested this hard, and the unrelenting, punishing, hurting darkness and pessimism of the whole thing, unlit by any apparent spark of positivity doesn’t help in that context.
Joe Abercrombie hit the nail on the head. Every review I’ve read of this game has sounded approximately the same (albeit without Abercrombie’s imimitable wit).