So, you might remember me jabbering on about something called Steam Greenlight last month – well, it’s finally here!

Nicely embedded within Steam’s new ‘Community’ feature, you can now vote for your favourite games and in-development projects to be placed directly into the Store, bypassing those long Valve decisions and bringing the power directly to the consumer.

As of this time, Steam Greenlight is running off a rating system that considers up and down votes on an overall total (for example, Dino Run SE, a personal favourite of mine, has a calculated 1% of ratings so far towards its final goal), meaning that developers are going to be heavily relying on the community for any chance of progress – obviously flaunting the features of Steam’s new ‘Game Hubs’ and sharing system.

With 492 games currently taking part, it’s very exciting to see such a chance for indie developers on a mainstream platform – my only worry being, however, that it is essentially a popularity vote. Flashy graphics, or big online communities do not necessarily make one game better than another, so I sincerely hope that people are going into Greenlight without the intention of knocking out their chosen title’s competition (that down vote button is awfully big).

All in all, it should be interesting to see how smoothly the system runs over the next few weeks, and which games manage to find their way to the top of the pile! I recommend giving Greenlight a browse – a couple of clicks of your mouse could be securing the fate of Steam’s next big hit.


Visit Steam Greenlight here, or through your Steam Community section.



Legend speaks of a so called “WoW-Killer”, an MMO so good and well built that it drains Blizzard’s subscription number down to a low amount. Games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic and RIFT have been called this, wrongly. After a couple of months, they all fall, and Warcraft remains strong.


It’s simple: WoW is a game that has years of content within it. Spanning the original and its three expansions, that’s nearly seven years of constant development and work. So when a new player comes in, he/she has a gargantuan amount of quests, arenas, dungeons and raids to go through. Therein lies the problem. Picture this: The Old Republic comes out, and offers players 50 levels plus a mediocre endgame, which BioWare promises to improve later. Gamers go, grind through the 50 levels, defeat all the bosses in raids, get the gear. And all in less than two months. Then what? The developer is having problems fixing the bugs, and isn’t able to release more than a mere dungeon in the next update. The patch releases, and the players chew it and swallow it. Yet they need more, and there isn’t enough in the game to keep them satisfied. That’s why they go back to Warcraft, because in there, they have at least 100+ hours of game time guaranteed.

The new game that BioWare had just released, is basically the same that Blizzard released 7 years ago. But why play that, when you can play an updated and improved version of it: Warcraft?

Also, Warcraft gives both unexperienced players and hardcore gamers an immersive experience. The game is layered, and although it might seem simple, many complex formulas and strategies exist for those who like a challenge. Let me be honest, I’m not a hardcore MMO fan, and sometimes when I start in a new game I’m just overwhelmed by the complex features, even though I’ve played my fair share of them. Yet in Warcraft everything has been simple from the start.

Will Guild Wars 2 kill it? Perhaps. Maybe it will suck 2-4 million users. But remember, Blizzard is cunning. They know what to do in moments like these. Once it launches, thousands will go to play it. And Blizzard will just smile, because a month later, their own fourth expansion releases. Those couple thousand people that went running to play Guild Wars? They’re going to run back around. Sadly, I think that Guild Wars is not a franchise that is popular enough to dethrone Warcraft. To hit it hard, a huge fan base will be needed, and it does not have it. Perhaps the Elder Scrolls will, once it launches its own MMO, or maybe Dungeons and Dragons online, who knows?

Their numbers are strong. Credit goes to

It’s the ugly truth. Unless developers start being innovative, instead of just trying to do what WoW did, their games are all going to fail. We have to hope that one day, a developer’s light bulb will light up and a Killer will be born.

But to be honest, I believe that the real WoW-Killer is none other than Warcraft itself. With a stunning number of 9.1 million (as of August) subscribers, it’s going to be hard to topple it. That’s why I believe that the fall will come from within. Maybe Blizzard will commit a huge mistake with an expansion, causing its own demise. It seems to me that the WoW-Killer is just a myth, after all. Let’s wait and see.


Ever since Blizzard announced their fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria, I felt uneasy. “They’re going to include Pandas? They’re not going to be good characters at all!” Trust me, after watching this, I had no doubts that this will be a good expansion.

This trailer might be what Blizzard needed. It seems like many people have now changed their minds. Have you? I certainly have. I’m leaving later to pre-order this, just so I can have it day one. I’ll be writing more reviews and articles about this expansion, once it comes out this September.

Along with the trailer, Blizzard revealed two things: First, that all races are going to be playable, no matter which expansions you own. If you only have Warcraft and Burning Crusade, don’t worry, you can still play a Worgen. You won’t be able to create a Death Knight, though. Even the Pandaren will be available, but no Monks without Mists. It’s likely that the continent of Pandaria itself won’t be available to people who don’t purchase MoP, but the starting area for our beloved pandas will.

The other news is something that excited me a lot. One of the problems that I felt that this pack was going to suffer was the lack of a major threat. Cataclysm had Deathwing, Wrath had the Lich King and Burning Crusade had Illidan. But now, Blizzard told us who’s the last boss now. Watch out, spoilers. It’s no one else than Garrosh himself. That’s right, we’re finally going to be able to kick some Hellscream ass.

Are you as excited as I am for Mists of Pandaria? You can pre-purchase it here, as I have done already.


Earlier today, Jonathan Lavigne’s blog, Pixeltao, revealed the future of Mercenary Kings – the upcoming installment from newly-fledged developer Tribute Games (Wizorb). Since its demo showcase at Dream.Build.Play, a lot of people – myself included – have been very excited about this game, which combines the arcade style and fun of Metal Slug with RPG elements of crafting and character customisation. What they need, however, is your support.

With a project just launched on Kickstarter, Tribute Games are looking for $75,000 to fund and create Mercenary Kings, which will include the art of Paul Robertson (best known for his work on 2010’s Scott Pilgrim game, alongside the founders of Tribute Games), as well as local cooperative play (online tba). With hopes for releasing on both PC and console, any donations and backing will all be extremely helpful in bringing this title to our screens and up to its full potential. Credits and rewards are offered for generosity.


Tribute Games website

Mercenary Kings Kickstarter page

Pixeltao blog

Paul Robertson’s Tumblr


Whilst everybody was out drinking, making friends and having fun last night, I was watching the QuakeCon livestream with full concentration, eager to hear from the divine wisdom that is John Carmack – legendary developer and head honcho at id Software. With news on such projects as Doom 3 BFG Edition, the highly anticipated Doom 4 and Carmack’s own thoughts on future console OUYA, this keynote certainly had my utmost attention and in no way repentant for being the antisocial bastard that I am.

Firstly, id has announced that it will be putting a halt to its mobile development. Carmack was regretful to state that, due to other projects demanding attention and Bethesda’s own ambitions, it was becoming too difficult to manage further updates on iOS titles, however was interested in returning to the platform sometime in the future. In the same vein, Quake Live, the popular, free-to-play Quake 3 clone, has also had to shed its development team in the light of recent changes in id’s current priorities. Saddening as it is, hopefully this will guarantee much more detail and time invested into upcoming desktop and console releases.

Doom 3 BFG Edition, scheduled for release October 16 on Xbox 360, PC and PS3, has been crowned with a new trailer, showing off its new HD visuals and ‘Lost Mission’ expansion. Included in the pack will be the Doom back catalogue, which will hopefully give the series a full resurrection into modern gaming – having had no new titles since 2008.

Known mainly for its dark atmosphere and jump scares, it seems that Carmack has instead decided to steer BFG in a different direction from its original release – perhaps to cater to a modern market that is not quite so supported by the ‘hardcore’ gamers of old. Doom 3 will now include a lot more health, ammo and (most significantly) a toggled flashlight – a courtesy that was not rewarded so liberally in the past. Personally, I’m not too happy with these changes, as they are essentially transforming a game that was, at one point, considered genuinely frightening into an action fps. Do what you have to, id, but God help you if you’ve removed Nightmare difficulty.

In his keynote speech, Carmack went on to address the new, Android-based console, OUYA, as a ‘longshot’ for developers – unsure of its potential in value: “It’s neat that they want to cater to indie developers, but I don’t think that’s something a business can run on” (ShackNews). Focusing mainly on offering a fresher, cheaper service, it is obvious as to why id would have little interest in this future release, as it gives off more of a sense of being a hardware version of Steam Greenlight, rather than a fully fledged competitor in the modern console market. Nonetheless, I am still very excited about the OUYA project, which you can read about in more detail here.

Image obtained from

QuakeCon has left Doom 4 as secretive as ever this year, with little to no information regarding the project being leaked, or any hint at a release date as of yet. The other development teams being pulled into the project is a good sign, however, and may secure a lot more progress for a possible 2013 preview – Carmack’s eternal insistence of ‘we can’t talk about it’ will always cast a shadow of obscurity for the time being.

Overall, QuakeCon appears to be extremely promising this year, with a definite interest in developing for the Oculus Rift – the ‘first truly immersive virtual reality headset for video games’. This isn’t something I really care about, as such, but it will certainly be worth keeping an eye out to see the results of these new technologies and if they can really ‘revolutionise’ the current formats of gaming. Honestly, as long as there are controllers and keyboards, this will never be, as PixlBit stated, more than ‘a hobbyist’s product’.

Just keep bringing the zombies and shotguns, Carmack, and you will never go wrong.


Valve sure has been busy recently, what with the highly anticipated release of Source Filmmaker (click here), working to provide a secure Linux service and, of course, the irresistible siren that is the Steam Summer Sale (it just takes your wallet and stamps all your money into the ground – like a school bully, except you’re actually really pleased about it). However, all of those could be completely individual, standalone posts – what I’m really here to talk about is Steam Greenlight.

In the past, if a small developer wanted their game to be sold on Steam, they’d have to fill out an application form (like this one) and wait about for that all important ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ – but, all that is about to change. Steam Greenlight intends to switch all that responsibility to us, the community, in a fancy new voting system which, I imagine, will borrow heavily from its well received Workshop success. Indie developers will now be able to submit their games/demos/screenshots at any stage of production, allowing for voters to pick and choose who they would like to see in the marketplace. This, of course, is a brilliant change to the old system and really creates a lot more opportunity for any upcoming or existing projects to become accessible to a much wider audience – around 40 million, in fact.

Greenlight’s development is an honest reveal of what Steam has always been about – acknowledging the shifting interests within games and allowing for companies, big or small, to be a part of it. Other portals, such as Indievania (click here), will be able to merge and advertise to the masses what they have to offer. However, with any form of freedom, issues will arise.

Duplicates, false submissions and the possibility of virus-laden software may be found within the flood of new applications – or, as Rock, Paper, Shotgun pointed out, ‘a billion joke listings for Half-Life 2: Episode 3 will instantaneously appear’ (article here), which obviously brings to mind the question of ‘how will Greenlight be moderated?’. I emailed Valve with questions concerning this, however have had no response as of yet – I guess we’ll all have to wait and see for ourselves.

Steam Greenlight is intended for release in August this year.

Visit the Steam Greenlight page here

Catch the Steam Summer Sale here


In a society suffocated by franchise and corporate hegemony, the gaming world has become swamped in sequels and re-releases, all looking to control the largest market share. However, there is still a single lantern shining within its murky depths, as independent developers have begun to regain a foothold across the console spectrum.

I spoke with ex-Ubisoft Game Designer and co-founder of Montréal-based Tribute Games, Jonathan Lavigne, to catch a glimpse into the future and the workings of Indie game development.

Where do you see Indie game development in the future, as opposed to the bigger franchises and established companies?

Indie game development is getting more and more support. There are competitions like the IGF or Dream Build Play, portals like Indievania to sell your games, and first party companies and publishers are being increasingly more opened to indie developers (like Microsoft with XBLIG, Steam with its wide selection of indie titles, and Sony with the recent release of the Playstation Suite).

That being said, indie game development won’t overthrow big traditional game franchises and larger companies. It has its own niche market and it’ll soon (if not already) generate enough money to allow passionate developers to be able to make games on their own rather than be forced to work for a big studio.

 Ninja Senki, Lavigne’s highly praised 2010 action platformer, was heavily influenced by classic NES formats, such as Mega Man or Metroid. Click the above image to download the game for free!

Is there an increasing audience for this market of games – and if so, is there enough to actually support a company?

– I think that game journalists reflect the increasing interest of gamers for indie development, and they’ve been really supportive and willing to talk about them in the last few years. So yeah, there is definitely a market and it potentially can be enough to support a company – however, a lot of people are still unaware that independent game development exists, so there’s still work to do to promote indies.

Why  do you think so many recent Indie titles been so heavily based upon nostalgia in terms of graphics and style?

– A lot of indie developers are in their late or early twenties, so they want to share the love they have for the games they grew up with. Also, with actual technology and the development tools available, it’s more convenient for small teams to work with 2d graphics and 8-bit sounds and music rather than go full 3d HD and have to hire an orchestra.

Are the older, classic genres destined to resurface over modern game types?

– Maybe not, but there are definitely many genres that were simply lost in translation from 2d to 3d back in the 90s. I believe that a lot of new ideas can come up from old 8-bit or 16-bit generation games. Indie developers are already making it happen and it’ll keep going for sure.

Jonathan Lavigne’s work can be found at Tribute games, Or at PIXELTAO, his personal blog.

Tribute Games’ Wizorb review here.