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Ubisoft has over 9,000 employees. Possibly becoming the world’s largest gaming company

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Ubisoft

Kotaku’s Superannuation’s been at it again, this time delving into the data released on Ubisoft’s corporate website. They found that the publisher now employs more than 9,200 people, 7,800 in a production role. That’s a staggeringly large number but it goes some way to explaining how the company is able to put out a yearly Assassin’s Creed release, all while making Watch Dogs, Far Cry, and the rest of their games.

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Let's talk about Thief's anti-open world

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thief eidos montreal

If you play Thief, which you might well do - it’s an occasionally stonking, deeply sensual stealth game - you won’t just be heisting banks and hoisting bags of swag.

No: you’ll need to hike between its missions on foot, through a City that makes a meal of crossing the street. It’s level design at its most obtuse, and at one confused juncture or another it’ll lead you to do precisely what I’m doing now: slump back in your chair and shake your head in wonder and exasperation at this least open of all the open worlds.

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Garry’s Mod virus filled servers with sound of coughing

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garry's mod facepunch

Last night a virus propogated itself and spread through the Garry’s Mod’s servers quickly. Very quickly.

Exploiting a weakness in the Source Engine, the virus was able to automatically download to your machine when you connected to an infected server. If an infected machine connected to an uninfected server the code would upload to the server and then download itself onto all the machines connected to it.

Developer Facepunch released a fix this morning.

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Here Be Dragons has you hunt down the monsters of the sea for Queen and country

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here be dragons red zero games

“Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas,” write Red Zero Games, “Vasco da Gama reached India by sea. However, all great explorers would never have reached their goals if they had to face all sea and land threats without help.

“Someone had to defeat dragons and tritons, beforehand. Someone had to vanquish bloody cults. Someone had to banish supernatural ghost ships. The information about these deeds is missing from the archives, and you can’t find it in any great statesmen’s memoir. The knowledge of the “Avant Armada” was completely erased.”

Too bloody right, it’s about time their great deeds were immortalised in a computer game.

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Guild Wars’ ninth anniversary starts three weeks early because of typo

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Typos make fools of us all, whether it’s writing ‘Best retards’ at the bottom of an email or the missing overbar that sent Mariner 1 into an explosive descent over Venus, but in ArenaNet’s case it’s made them the bringer of joy to Guild Wars players.

ArenaNet were planning on kicking off Guild Wars; ninth anniversary celebrations on the 22 April. Due to a typo in their internal schedule the cork was pulled three weeks early on the 2 April.

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Warlock 2: The Exiled review

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Warlock 2 review

Mages have a pretty sweet scam going on. They cause all sorts of devastation: summoning dragons, reanimating the dead and forcing them to fight, setting off all sorts of ecological disasters. It’s properly awful stuff. But they’re also the only big brains capable of cleaning up the messes they create. So nobody takes a moment to consider the fact that, without mages, life would be a lot easier. 

In Warlock II: The Exiled, the residents of Ardania and the floating shards - remnants of magically destroyed worlds - really should know better than to let mages do what they want. Ino-Co Plus’ 4X sequel pits mage against mage in a war to wrest control of Ardania from the iron grip of the United One, an all powerful mage and dictator for life. The result: a constant stream of catastrophic magic that makes everything a whole lot worse. 

And underneath the world-shattering magic spells and impossible armies is a game that is better than its forebearer - the rather good Master of the Arcane - in every way. It represents a change in 4X design that’s as evocative of a grand roleplaying journey as it is other fantasy strategy outings.

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This way lies madness: Gaslamp Games and Clockwork Empires

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A woman in explorer's clothes stands beneath a menacing obelisk in the distance, surrounded by primitive stone cult structures.

“I actually had a dream about Peter Molyneux while I was here,” Gaslamp Games’ Nicholas Vining told me on the last day of GDC, launching into an impression of the famed / notorious British developer. “He showed up in my dream and he’s like, ‘Nicholas, I have something for you.’ So he opened his hand and there was this apple. ‘Take this apple. Bury it deep within the fertile soil. It will reveal to you all the secrets of game development.’

“And then I woke up. I didn’t learn the secret of game development from Peter Molyneux.” Vining paused sadly. “This brings us to Clockwork Empires.”

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The Elder Scrolls Online review

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The Elder Scrolls Online Review

The Elder Scrolls Online is a mess. 

Somewhere, buried under bugs, often bizarre design decisions and weird rookie level structural mistakes that the game makes, there is a great MMO struggling to be found. 

I played it for just over 30 hours, reaching level 16 (of 50) and the third zone in my faction's territory. Yes, the game is huge: Zenimax weren’t joking when they announced the 150 hours average game time to end-game. But there were plenty more reasons why it took me so long to get even this far, and the majority of them were due to an endless torrent of progress-halting bugs.

The Elder Scrolls Online is just not ready for players. 

It is a tragedy. 

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None like it hot: How heat’s your worst enemy in Elite: Dangerous

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We’ve known from early on its development that heat would play a big part in Elite: Dangerous. Sensors in Elite detect heat, it’s how you find ships in the cold vacuum of space, and everything on your ship seems to create it - weapons, engines, coffee dispenser.

 

Frontier are just now bringing it to the fore in Elite’s alpha, though. They’re implementing some really canny mechanics that you dogfighters will love.

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Elder Scrolls Online duping bug is wrecking game economy. Zenimax shut down guild bank

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Elder Scrolls Online Bethesda Zenimax

Zenimax have been forced to shut down the Elder Scrolls Online’s guild bank after a duplication bug allowed players to flood the game’s economy with billions of ill gotten gold. The bug, which has been present in the game since beta, has resulted in players having easy access to rare materials, legendary equipment, and stacks of in-game cash.

While Zenimax have just now started to work on preventing further duplication they’ve said nothing of how they will fix the ESO’s economy which, at this point, is wholly unbalanced.

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JetGetters' Kickstarter cancelled as developer finds investor

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The games industry moves faster than a speeding bullet sometimes: tinyBuild launched JetGetters’ Kickstarter, received its needed $50,000, and cancelled it all before we wrote a post about it.*

They've decided to cancel because, despite having the necessary funding from fans, tinyBuild have decided to partner with an investor “to assist tinyBuild in expanding our development and publishing efforts.”

JetGetters is still due for release but it’s just going to take a little bit longer than first expected.

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Attack of the Artifacts heralds a "more monstery" Card Hunter - flush with angry antiques and tournament tactics

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card hunter attack of the artifacts

Card Hunter was and is an X-Commy tactics game and committed CCG that didn't quite make the dent it might've if it'd had, say, Ken Levine at its head rather than lesser-known Irrational co-founder Jon Chey.

But if anything can bring new players to the board, it's imminent expansion Attack of the Artifacts - in which scheming, sentient antiques are coupled with an intriguing tournament system.

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Cortex Command updated with Steam Workshop, squad controls, and smarter AI

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Cortex Command

Cortex Command’s cogs don’t fit together, it’s leaking oil, and its motherboard is chipped. Data Realms, the game’s developer, knows this. When they first released the game on Steam, 18 months ago, there was no Early Access system in place, so they released the game saying it was version 1.0 and they’d just continue updating the game as they had in the years of development beforehand.

It’s taken 18 months for the first major update to be released but it should end a lot of grievances players have with the strategy game.

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Blocky shooter Minimum leaves purgatory after being rescued by Atari

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Minimum Early Access

Blocky, minimalistic shooter, Minimum has been pulled out of Section 8 developer TimeGate’s bankruptcy proceedings, with help from Atari who have handed it over to Human Head. 

TimeGate announced it just before the studio went bankrupt, and it looks like ex-Prey 2 developer Human Head has kept it pretty similar. Take a gander at the trailer below. 

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Alien: Isolation has one claw firmly stuck in 1979

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Alien: Isolation lo-fi

There sure have been a lot of these Alien: Isolation dev diaries. Undoubtedly a good thing though, creating transparency that Colonial Marines utterly lacked. This new one continues the theme of authenticity that’s obviously key to the approach Creative Assembly have taken - making the sci-fi elements feel like they were designed in the ‘70s. 

“This isn’t a world of holograms and touchscreens; there’s no sense here that technology is going to save you,” said creative lead Alistair Hope. It certainly looks a lot like Ridley Scott’s original vision. Big ol’ CRT monitors, distortion on screens, thick analog buttons - it’s all been designed with what the original filmmakers had access to 30 odd years ago in mind.

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Our Spotlight units plug content our journalists have made, that our advertisers want to promote. Sometimes the promotion is paid for, but the content they go to is always independent with no client oversight or approval.

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Indie

This way lies madness: Gaslamp Games and Clockwork Empires

Elder Scrolls

The Elder Scrolls Online review

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Moebius: Empire Rising review

World of Warcraft

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Hearthstone review

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