What Are Valve's Three Big Surprises?
In the latest issue of PC Gamer, Valve's Gabe Newell states:
"I can guarantee you people are going to be surprised at stuff we do. That isn't going to stop any time soon. I'm just laughing because... people will be shocked again. ... We have three pretty big surprises in the next 12 months at least."
Given the company's history of hiring experimental psychologists, exploring sign language as a means of communication with deaf characters, releasing three of the best games of the past decade in a package for the price of one title, and creating a piece of software that has almost become synonymous with PC gaming as a platform, people are sort of interested in those surprises.
What might those surprises be? I have some guesses that are uninformed, highly speculative, and sure to be completely wrong. Thankfully, those are the best kind.
- "Half-Life 2: Episode 3? You already played it - it was Team Fortress 2. We're proud to reveal that the upcoming Portal 2 will be Left 4 Dead 3, a prequel to Half-Life 3: Episode Zero."
- "Surprise! Happy birthday! Everyone's here and we all love you."
- "Steam will institute a new, per-user sale system. When you purchase a game, that title will go on sale the very next day for half the price that you paid. When you purchase a game during a sale, it will become free the very next day."
- "Hats can now be shot off of players' heads in Team Fortress 2. Once this happens, the hat is lost forever. Also, if your character gets shot that class will be closed to you forever."
- "We're all ghosts. We have been the entire time."
- "The Steam Store will now accept payment via unrelated ingame currency such as SimPoints, Madden Coins, Xbox Live Points, BioWare Points, and whatever blood has leaked from your ears while thinking about the sad direction things are headed."
- "We acquired Sega, and will be entering the console hardware market with the Steamcast Entertainment System this fall. It will center around digitally distributed games and will utilize a solid state drive for instant load times. Hardware designed by Tiger Handheld. They've been going through a rough spot, but we think they deserve a second chance."
- "Portals aren't a real thing. We made them up for that game."
- "Blanka has been a selectable character since the first Half-Life. All you have to do is type in the Konami code at the menu."
- "'PC gaming is dead.' Oh, sorry, I was just remembering a funny quote that's come from every hack journalist, supposed industry analyst, and forum doofus since the 90's. 'Social games such as Club Penguin are likely the future.' That was another hilarious one, though I guess today you could swap out Club Penguin for Farmville or whatever bullshit people are buying for their iPhones then forgetting."
- "Remember all those theoretical physicists we hired a while back? And the enormous secret facility we added to the Valve headquarters? Well, it would be great if someone could send help. It doesn't matter which timeline you're in, they're all sort of converging."
BREAKING NEWS - Gearbox Has Announced That It Will Finish Duke Nukem Forever
In related news, shut up shut up shut up and go away
In still more related news, look forward to months and months of Gearbox pretending that the PC will be the lead platform, along with lots of fake enthusiasm about using the nine million planned DLC packs to "listen to the fan feedback and give them what they want", interspersed with more inane George Broussard tweets somehow being reported as news while most people can't name the lead designer of Civilization V.
Elemental: War Of Magic
Once they patch all the bugs, rework every fundamental mechanic and rebalance the endgame to get to the genuine fun that's definitely hidden away, I hope they have time to infuse the game world with an actual reason to tinker with the underlying systems. 3/10
Dead Rising 2: Case Zero
Before laying down five bucks on this you'll probably be concerned about getting your money's worth, but after you stick a lawn dart in a zombie's head with an exaggerated underhand toss you might feel like you didn't pay enough. 7/10
Thirty seconds of unique gameplay stretched over two hours, albeit an amazingly stylish and well animated two hours. 6/10
The biggest letdowns are the cookie-cutter story and the glut of reviewers who think there aren't enough side activities because they assume this is a GTA clone instead of a story-driven third person shooter that takes place in a seamless location. 7/10
Metroid: Other M
Everything you love about Metroid, with needlessly awkward controls that can be eventually tolerated and shameful cinematics that can eventually drive you to like the franchise a bit less. 5/10
Technically a hockey game, in the same way that my Lego house wrapped in tin foil was technically a science project on passive thermal insulation. 4/10