What game have you spent the most hours in?

Posted on January 15, 2022 by

The cycle of videogame discourse loops around again, an ouroboros chewing its own tail and pausing only to vomit up one of the same half-dozen topics we must apparently discuss again and again, until the world's ending. This time, the cyclical serpent has barfed out the subject of how long a videogame should be. Do your best to ignore it. Let's talk about something else instead. Let's simply peruse our libraries, look over our save files, and take note of those games we've decided are worth dedicating, say, to pick an entirely arbitrary number at random, 500 hours to.

What game have you spent the most hours in?

Here are our answers, plus some from our forum.

Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: Tragically all my League of Legends stats have been erased since I played, but in the span of roughly one year, mostly in 2011, I played something like 800 matches. At an average of 40 minutes a match, that comes out to more than 500 hours that year. I played so much it literally haunted my dreams.

Halo 2 and 3 got more of my time on Xbox, though. According to the Halo site's surviving stats, I played 2,969 matches of Halo 2 and 2,905 matches of Halo 3. At an average of 15 minutes a match, that's about 1,500 hours between the two. Not so bad, considering that took place over about five years!

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Nat Clayton, Features Producer: It's been five years since the game went offline, and longer still since it was actively played, but bloody Super Monday Night Combat still sits at the top of my Steam most-played with a healthy 1,020 hours logged. An old high school bud got me into a beta just before graduating, and I spent the next two years with little else to do but get really, embarrassingly into a doomed shooter-MOBA hybrid. Nothing racks up game hours like being deeply depressed and unable to find work between school and university, but the community was tight-knit in the way tiny communities tend to be, and I eventually ended up travelling Norway with an American guy from the scene. 

I've spent a lot of the last decade hoping something, anything else would overtake it as my most played game. I imagined it'd be Splatoon 2 for a minute, racking up a whopping 720 over the course of the pandemic, but considering I put 700 of my 800+ hours into Apex Legends in the last 7 months alone, I reckon it'll take the podium sooner or later. I'm also completely ignoring my World of Warcraft playtime which, having been an on-again off-again subscriber for over 16 years, must easily overshadow everything mentioned above. I finally cut the habit in 2019, and I'm not going back now just to check my hours.

Dave has 1107 hours in Football Manager 2019

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Dave James, Hardware Lead: My answer really has to encompass a series of games, because I'm one of those Football Manager obsessives, and as such I will plough my available game time into a new iteration of the game every single year. I have deliberately not totted up the overall time I've spent playing FM since it came out, partly because I don't ever need to see that number, but also because I can't find play time stats for its Championship Manager progenitor which I also sank a huge amount of my life into.

But a quick check of Steam shows my most-played version of the game was Football Manager 2019 with a hefty 1,107.7 hours, a little over the 1,062.7 hours I spent with FM2018 the year before, or the 1,007.1 hours of FM2017.

The series is, however, a stark reminder about just how much having children affects the time you can spend gaming. FM2020 has but 841.5 hours of my life, FM2021 a paltry 393.1 hours, and FM2022 just 113 minutes. 

The lesson for everyone here is a simple one: don't have kids, they ruin everything.

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Katie Wickens, Hardware Writer: Rimworld was my saving grace throughout uni, before I even had many games on my PC at all, because who can afford games while studying? My system was reserved mostly for game design so I literally had two games installed. That way I could concentrate on getting my degree… and drinking. But Rimworld helped me pass the time relatively productively as I could just leave it playing in the background while I wrote my design journal, until the hordes of rabid squirrels decided to attack, of course. 

Those 324.9 hours are but a fragment of the true time spent hunkering down in mountainsides with my pawns, though. Another 20 hours flew by straight off the bat, the first time my friend ever showed it to me. He went to bed and woke up the next morning to me, red-eyed, and hunched over his PC like “I built a base, look.” 

I clocked up another hundred hours or so on my boyfriend's PC during the year between uni and finding gainful employment, so it's safe to assume the number is closer to 450 hrs. Basically, I've been training in colony management for some time. Can I put that on my CV?

Sarah has played a priest in WoW for 303 days, 19 hours

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Sarah James, Guides Writer: I'm actually a little scared to think about the amount of time I've spent in World of Warcraft but here we are. My priest sits at 303 days and 19 hours and is the character I created when I returned to WoW during Mists of Pandaria. This is the one that I've played the longest, though I did main a warrior during the second half of Warlords of Draenor and a demon hunter for most of Shadowlands, so good chunks of playtime aren't included. A decebt amount of time was spent raiding, though a lot of it can probably be attributed to doing laps of Orgrimmar/Dalaran/Oribos while chatting to guildies on Discord.

Aside from that, Valheim comes in second at 603 hours played. Errr… go big or go home?

Mollie has played FF14 for 75 days

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Mollie Taylor, Trainee News Writer: Absolutely nobody on the PC Gamer team will be surprised to know that Final Fantasy 14 is my most-played game. Steam will lie and say I have 1,161 hours logged, but I started playing it on a PlayStation 3 back in 2014 so it's a bit more than that—the in-game timer shows I've put closer to 1800 hours into it, which is nothing in MMO time. I only ever tend to spend around 50 to 300 hours in most games I play, so it's rare for me to hit four digits. I've come close with games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and The Sims 4, but Final Fantasy 14 is the first one to finally hit that milestone. 

Lauren has 952 hours in Civ 5

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Lauren Aitken, Deputy Guides Writer: It's more likely nearer 1000 as I had a non-Steam version on the go for a while. I'm pretty sure it was a disc copy? Anyway, it's a classic, what can I say? Either that or my The Witcher 3 PlayStation first playthrough at around 420 hours. I just like Gwent, ok?

Phil has 1771 hours in Guild Wars 2

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Phil Savage, Editor-in-Chief UK: It's Guild Wars 2 for me—really the only MMO I've properly sunk my teeth into. And despite it being one of the most alt-friendly MMOs around, over 94% of my 1,771 hours with it has been spent on one character. It's a nine-year-old game, so those hours are spread out across a long period, with some significant breaks. But with an expansion arriving in February, I'd expect that total to rise dramatically this year. 2,000 hours here we come.

Evan has 980 hours in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

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Evan Lahti, Global Editor-in-Chief: I'm feeling dwarfed by some of the numbers on our team, yow. CS:GO still sits atop my humble hours-played pile on Steam with 980, despite not having played it seriously since 2017 or so. For the stretch 2013-2015 it was one of the only games I was playing. 

As I've gotten older I think it's only natural that you lean away from games that require skill maintenance to keep up with, partly because the friends around you are doing the same. The other factor is the mindset that our job at PC Gamer instills: covering games creates a pressure to be playing a breadth of different things, to be diving into what everyone's talking about. I'd love to know what future game will supplant the shooters at the top of my permanent record.

Lauren has over 2045 hours in Guild Wars 2

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Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: I was also going to say Guild Wars 2, but it turns out that those hours don't hold a candle to the number I spent in the first Guild Wars. I have a total of 4,456 hours in the original and 2,045 in GW2. Even combined, they don't match the hours Sarah's spent on just her Priest. I'll just sit on down. 

Over on Steam, it's The Elder Scrolls Online, though it only reports 503 hours while my real total from the standalone ZOS launcher is probably double that. MMOs seem like such obvious winners though. My top-played singleplayer game is Dragon Age Inquisition with 337 hours.

Rich has over 2600 hours in Rocket League

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Rich Stanton, News Editor: Just over 2,600 hours in Rocket League, tipping 1,000 in CS:GO, and a couple of respectable showings for FromSoft. The tragic thing is that this doesn't include my Rocket League playtime on PlayStation 4, which is where I played it for the first few years, or Switch, where I play it pretty often now. I've spent hundreds of days of my life chasing a ball in a rocket-propelled car. Maybe I need help.

Andy has 390 hours in The Witcher 3

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Andy Chalk, US News Lead: I'm feeling like an absolute scrub reading all these numbers. I think my Quake 2 playtimes from way back when would give me a respectable showing but that's all long gone—the big dog in my Steam library these days is The Witcher 3, at 390 hours, followed by Wasteland 2, Fallout 4, and Battletech. I haven't touched any of them except Witcher 3 in years.

Morgan has 1400 hours in Rainbow Six Siege on Steam, with another 600 or so on console

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Morgan Park, Staff Writer: Between PC, PS4, and Xbox, I have around 2,000 hours in Rainbow Six Siege (though my Steam number is around 1,400). I don't wanna know how many days that is. Runners up include 700 hours in Day of Defeat: Source, 260 hours in Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars, around 200 in Hunt Showdown, and 150-ish in Hitman 2. I don't know how to check Overwatch playtime, but if I did that'd probably be second or third.

Chris has 418 hours in Team Fortress 2

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Chris Livingston, Features Producer: On Steam it looks like TF2 takes the cake despite the fact I haven't played it since probably around 2010. Not captured by Steam is The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, in which I have two characters who each have 200-hour saved files, and a third with around 50 hours. So I'm gonna say that's truly my most-played game. I have to imagine I spent a couple hundred hours playing Doom 2, RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, The Sims 2, Unreal Tournament, and a few more before Steam was a thing.

450 hours in Oblivion felt like a lot until I saw almost everyone else at PCG has over a thousand hours on their most-played lists. Sometimes way over that. Now I'm suddenly wondering: have I just never found a game I really, truly loved? Damn.

Tyler Colp has 2,677 hours in Overwatch

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Tyler Colp, Associate Editor: Like Mollie and Sarah, MMOs sucked all the time out of me. I don't have hard numbers for World of Warcraft, but I know I have at least 150 days or more clocked into that game. That's at least 3,600 hours spread out across several characters because I'm indecisive. As any MMO player knows, the game becomes a thing to do while chatting with friends on voice chat, so that's where most of my hours come in. I'm still fairly new to Final Fantasy 14, so I'm only sitting at 68 days, or 1,632 hours. I'm sure it'll get worse.

All of these hour counts would be surprising if I went back in time and told my younger self what kind of curious decisions I'd make in the future, but the real shocker to me even now is my Overwatch hours. I remember scoffing at Blizzard making a first-person shooter when it was announced and reluctantly buying it on launch day (which is also my birthday) to join my friends. Now I have over 3,500 hours in it across several accounts. At this point I know too much about the game and its history. I never thought I'd spend so much time in a game that it's infiltrated all parts of my brain, but here I am.

Alan has 368 hours in New World

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Alan Dexter, Senior Hardware Editor: The surprising one here is Spelunky. I knew I'd spent a bit of time dying to surprise snakes, errant boulders, and pointy sticks, but never realised I'd managed to tip over the 100-hour mark. Quality game though. I've obviously spent too much time in New World, and I'll freely admit that. And Skyrim is just a really great game (with a terrible interface). There are a couple of games that don't appear on this list though, including Cyberpunk 2077 (146 hours) and Apex Legends (1012 hours). 

It's another MMO that takes the win: I played WoW for many, many years, and racked up the kind of play hours that puts all of these to shame (we're talking many thousands of hours here). Which makes it a bit strange that I haven't touched it in almost a year and yet don't miss it at all. 

Jody has 287 hours in Total War: Warhammer 2

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Jody Macgregor, Weekend/AU Editor: I've got over 300 hours in Skyrim, counting both Oldrim and the Special Edition. Since those are separate entries in Steam, it puts Total War: Warhammer 2 at the top of my list. I've got 287 hours in that and still don't feel like I'm close to done with it. Haven't played a beastman campaign yet, and I never did finish my wood elf or goblin run.

I played 219 hours of the first Total War: Warhammer, which is I guess one campaign less? We'll see if the third game knocks it off the perch.

From our forum

mjs warlord: I can't prove I did this but I started using Warframe when it first came out and at the point where I stopped using it I had just over 2,800 hours , I stopped using it because one day I logged in and everything I had bought or fought for had gone! Somehow my account had got hacked.

Frindis: Next to my almost 11K hours in Rust , I got around 3K hours in WoW. That is the most I have ever played in a game. I'm not sure why, but when I look at my WoW transaction history, it does not show anything older than my Diablo 3 purchase from 19.07.12. It might have something to do with the redesign of the BlizzAccount.

Pifanjr has 576 hours in Civilization 5

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Pifanjr: According to Steam, it's Civilization V. I noticed the total hours of Skyrim Special Edition got reset when it updated to the Anniversary Edition though, so I might have had more hours in there, though it's probably similar.

I've never really stuck with any game for very long, so I doubt there are non-Steam games that vastly surpass 500+ hours, though there's probably some that at least come close.

Withywarlock: I don't have the specifics because this was on the Xbox 360, but The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will easily be in the thousands of hours, as I'd played it religiously for years on end. On the PC version, including Morroblivion I have 177 hours clocked. On Steam however, the most hours I've put into a game is with Total War: Warhammer II for the obvious reasons of it being grand strategy with hugely diverse armies and lots of army-fantasy. Might play that in a bit, tbh.

WoodenSaucer: The most for me is 221 hours in Skyrim. I usually play shorter games, and I really don't have that much gaming time. I know a guy on another forum who has over 19,000 hours on Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen. Don't ask me how. He's not lying about it because I just now looked at his Steam profile, and he's currently up to 19,864 hours on that game.

DXCHASE has 3600 hours in Destiny 2

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DXCHASE: For those that had read some of my posts, this isn't surprising lol. This doesn't cover the 1,000 hours or so I've spent on the game when it was under battle.net. Id also like to add that there's a good 500-700 hours of idle time in there and to the Destiny 2 community these numbers are rookie numbers lol. So all-in-all, roughly 4.5 – 5k hours. And that's just Destiny 2, I never played Destiny, also I am a leader/founder of a full rostered clan so playing with new players/clan members is all apart of the fun.

Johnway: Path of Exile by a country mile. Just under 1,450 hours.

The leagues just breathe life into the game every time and are quite significant features so it's in my best interest to play it. The end game is strangely addictive. Never beat it mind, but enough to keep me occupied each time. Generally it's probably the challenges of each league with a chance of loot that keeps me going. But if there isn't any good loot or the league is a bit naff, I quit sooner rather then later.

Kaamos_Llama has over 400 hours in Battle Brothers

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Kaamos_Llama: I just pipped my most played game recently with Battle Brothers at 400-odd (and I'm still bad at it), but if you add together my time in Total War Warhammer 1 and 2 its about 720 and they're the same game really, right?

In the last 10 years anyway, before I really used Steam no way to know and I had more time when I was younger. Pretty sure nothing would be near 11k hours though.

Ryzengang: I could try to check my lifetime Runescape/Old School Runescape play time across all my accounts but I would probably be deeply disturbed so I will refrain from doing that . Let's just say it is well over 5,000 hours and leave it at that. World of Warcraft is roughly 1,000 hours if I only count my main. Other than those two I really don't have a great idea. Some of my most played games were (mostly) on console (e.g., Borderlands 2, Halo 3, OG Modern Warfare).

ZedClampet: I've got 3,550 hours in Warframe. At some point I got exhausted by how grindy some of the new content was (to get this one item, I calculated that the best case scenario had me doing the 15-minute mission 107 times–but that was the absolute best case scenario) and just quit playing.

They have a great community, but I ended up playing by myself most of the time mainly because I was doing things other people didn't want to do and doing them in ways they would have scoffed at. For instance, when people wanted to level a weapon, there was one map they grouped up and went to, and it would take approximately forever to level your weapon to max (they were efficient at killing things, but not at earning weapon XP). Also, you were expected to play a certain frame and fulfil certain duties. But meanwhile I had a way of leveling my weapons by myself in 10 to 12 minutes, and I could play any frame I wanted. Pretty much every goal was like that. Players thought there was a right way and a wrong way to approach everything, and they expected you to follow along, but their methods were actually not the best.

Respawn’s secretive third project loses its creative director

Posted on January 15, 2022 by

Respawn Entertainment creative director Mohammad Alavi announced on Twitter this week he has left the studio.

Alavi started his career at Infinity Ward before moving to Respawn Entertainment where he worked for 11 years. The most recent project Alavi was attached to was a third game currently in the works at the studio, and despite losing Alavi as its creative director, development will continue.

The secretive game, it was reported last year, is still in the early stages, and at the time it was said the team was very small. News of the project came from a tweet from Respawn programmer Steven Kah Hien Wong who noted the studio was recruiting for a coder.

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Techland will support Dying Light 2 for at least 5 years post release

Posted on January 15, 2022 by

Techland plans to support Dying Light 2 for a long time after its initial drop on February 4.

According to the developer, the plan is to expand the world for at least five years post launch with new stories, locations, in-game events and more.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who played the first Dying Light.

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A PlayStation 5 version of Apex Legends might be coming soon

Posted on January 15, 2022 by

PlayStation 5 users may not have to wait much longer for a native version of Apex Legends, according to file information found on PSN.

According to PlayStationSize, while looking through PSN for updates, a PS5 entry was found with a download size of over 80GB without update.

This could mean a PS5 version of the game is imminent, and this also means you can probably expect the Xbox Series X/S version to arrive around the same time, if not the same day.

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Pupperazzi’s Adorable Dogs Will Follow You Until You Love Them

Posted on January 15, 2022 by

If you're feeling bummed out at the general state of the world going into 2022 and need a pick-me-up, here's an idea for you: how about taking a bunch of photos of cute dogs?

Specifically, the dogs in Pupperazzi, the latest game from indie studio Sundae Month. It is for the most part, per lead developer Isobel Shasha, what it says on the tin. "It's a game where you're taking pictures of dogs, and I think people might really connect with that."

Popping into Pupperazzi myself the other day, I find that Shasha is exactly right. I emerge in front of a beach shack where a chill pup named Sea Dog instructs me on how to use my camera and demands a photo of himself, before unleashing me on a dog-covered beach to take photos to my heart's content. There's a pile of dogs, big and small in all different colors, chasing one another around the beach and, once I pet them, happily following after me, too. I can throw a stick or (goofily) a banana for them to run after, or try to line up a nice shot of a happy dog sitting in front of the lighthouse at the end of the beach, framed by the ocean. And then I upload my photos to "Dog Net," an in-game social network where I receive feedback on my numerous photos until my audience gets annoyed at me for spamming them with cute dog pictures (how dare!) and stops rating them temporarily.

Shasha has been working at Sundae Month since the studio started eight years ago, when its founders met in Vermont at Champlain College. The team, which currently consists of between ten and 11 folks working on Pupperazzi, has an eclectic portfolio including a side-scrolling comedy-adventure game called Dad Quest where you use your indestructible child as a weapon, and the anti-adventure game Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor. They've also kept the lights on by taking plenty of work for outside clients, mostly game development as well as some educational apps.

Maintaining that balance has meant Sundae Month has had to quietly cancel a lot of projects, Shasha says, but with Pupperazzi the team has been able to come together for a proper "big" project. The idea for Pupperazzi stemmed from an internal game jam the team did at the end of 2018 into 2019, where someone came up with the idea of taking photos of dogs. The jam was initially intended to only last two weeks, but instead it went for two months. The game that came out of it was very different from what Pupperazzi would eventually be, but it did provide the seed.

What I was hoping we could emphasize is allowing players to just mess around and take photos however they want to.

"At the start of 2019, what we had was a head-to-head, local multiplayer dog photography arcade game where basically you were in the little arena, and it was split-screen, and the goal was basically to take pictures of as many different dogs as possible," Shasha says. "It was very silly."

Though the initial experience was messy, the team thought the dogs were so cute and fun to play with that they opted to reboot the project into a proper full experience. They swapped to single-player and evolved the scoring system to focus more on taking creative photos rather than a simple dog scavenger hunt.

Shasha is delighted that Pupperazzi has seemingly come along as part of a wave of new photography video games, alongside New Pokemon Snap, Beasts of Maravilla Island, TOEM, Eastshade, Umarangi Generation, and Toripon — though it wasn't trying to capitalize on that specifically. They say they think Pupperazzi's ultimate form may have been inadvertently inspired by "the memory of Pokemon Snap," but was shaped more by their fascination with game photography communities online — people who go out of their way to take interesting photos in all kinds of virtual environments.

"Personally, though I love Pokemon Snap, I don't think it's so much a game about photography, in a weird way," Shasha says. "The game doesn't put a lot of emphasis on expressing yourself through the photos. It's more of a scavenger hunt kind of vibe. Which is fine, and it's perfect for what it is, but…ultimately what I was hoping that we could emphasize is allowing players to just mess around and take photos however they want to."

They add that because Pupperazzi is fairly open-ended in how it lets you progress — be it through exploration and playing with dogs, finishing photo requests, or taking photos for fun — it avoids the trap of "overly mechanics-ize-ing" a genre that can easily fall into a trap of centering too much on arbitrary scores and hindering creativity. It does include plenty of customization tools, such as lenses and film that add different effects like fisheye, black and white, and others, but all of that is optional and at the photographer's discretion.

"I think, for players who are very interested in taking unique photos, we tried to put in as much as we could for those people," they continue. "Probably what most photographers in [games] are after is just being able to have a lot of control over the image so that they can make it feel unique, and that, in some ways, is interestingly at odds with democratizing photography and making sure that everyone has access to something that they can use to take a photo. Every player in [Pupperazzi] is going to start by taking the same picture of Sea Dog at the lighthouse cove, and that experience will still be unique for every player. So it's not a problem that we have all of these photos that are basically the same, but trying to add those tools was a big aspiration so that some players can get more in-depth with the photos if they want to."

It is uncomplicatedly joyful to just pet dogs.

Shasha tells me they suspect that Pupperazzi may be the last "big" project Sundae Month works on for a while, and that the team is in the process of figuring out its own future as it scales down outside client work and considers what its individual members want to work on. But they're still committed to keeping Sundae Month together, making their own games, and supporting Pupperazzi long-term. For now, anyway, Shasha says their biggest hope is that Pupperazzi is able to surprise its audience, who may not expect there to be hidden depth to a game that appears to be so straightforward.

"Yes, it's just a game about taking photos of dogs, and there is kind of an instant, viral, surface appreciation that people have for that," they say. "It is uncomplicatedly joyful to just pet dogs and see little hearts come out of them, and throw some food at them and play with them and snap a little pic, and that's totally fine.

"I've played this game more than probably anyone else on Earth at this point, so far, and I still enjoy taking pictures in the game, which surprises me because you'd think it would get old. But I like to line up a cool shot and rotate the camera in between portrait and landscape and snap it at just the right time so that it's crooked and post it on Slack and have the rest of the team be like, 'Oh wow. That's a cool picture. How did you get that?'"

Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.

Far Cry 6: Control DLC Review

Posted on January 15, 2022 by

I never really considered Far Cry a series that was ripe for the roguelite treatment, and Far Cry 6’s Control DLC doesn’t do much to convince me otherwise. This looping gauntlet provides an interesting exploration of one of its more complex villains, Far Cry 4’s pink-suited Pagan Min, but Control’s small-scale open world doesn’t deliver the same free-form fun as the base game (or even other expansions from Far Crys past).

The concept will be familiar to anyone who’s seen Inception, Dreamscape, or really any even mildly sci-fi-adjacent TV show or movie in recent memory – you take control of Pagan while trapped in a prison of his own mind and must complete a series of trials to help restore his "sanity" (or, perhaps more accurately, his delusional self-image). To do so, you'll need to collect the three shards of his golden mask (yes, it’s a little on the nose, I know) from around the bizarro version of a Kyrati valley that has become his subconscious home. It's not clear whether this is a hallucination during his death throes or just some sort of weird dream (though, if I remember correctly, canon lore is that Pagan survives at the end of Far Cry 4) but the concept feels like a natural extension of the trippy sequences that have become a series staple.

The world itself is a neon-splattered trip down memory lane for fans of Far Cry 4 – from the floating temples and massive gold statues that command the map's yellow brick road golden pathways, to the stylized recreations of recognizable locations like Pagan’s royal palace or the dilapidated home of FC4 protagonist Ajay Ghale’s mother. While it can certainly feel like you're seeing a lot of recycled material, the design team definitely nailed the look of this mental monument to Pagan's hubris. That still could have devolved into an otherwise forgettable slog between combat encounters, but what truly sells the delusion is the return of voice actor Troy Baker as the starring villain and a clever, insightful script from the story team helmed by Nikki Foy.

I came away with a much more nuanced view of Pagan Min.

It’s fascinating to get a sense of how Pagan Min viewed the events of Far Cry 4, especially in contrast to all the hours I spent listening to his propaganda broadcasts in 2014. Control could have done with a more in-depth refresher on what actually happened at the end of that game, but it does a good job of delving into the importance of the family drama that preceded it and Pagan's sense of self. It all makes for an interesting exploration of the villain’s true nature, made even more ambiguous by the ever-more-unreliable narration you get from Pagan in conversation with his inner demons (which are some of Baker’s best moments, though his delivery is consistently great throughout). There may be some aspects of his personality that are clearer than others – he’s definitely still a narcissist with a flair for the dramatic – but after the roughly five hours it took to roll credits the first time, I came away with a decidedly more nuanced view of the character that went beyond the stereotypical “charismatic psychopath” I remembered.

Outside of its story moments, however, Control stumbles a bit in Pagan’s luxurious loafers. Its take on the roguelite formula is pretty standard: you have one chance to complete all three combat trials, then survive the final challenge. If you die, you start again with nothing – though you can use currency (in this case, "Respect,") that you acquire during runs to purchase persistent upgrades that will make you stronger and your limited arsenal more powerful on your next try. It’s an interesting use of Far Cry’s mechanics in theory, but the constraints demanded by the roguelite concept mean that this DLC leans heavily on fairly basic gunplay and little else, which isn't necessarily Far Cry’s strongest suit.

That signature 'Far Cry' sense of freedom is largely missing.

That signature Far Cry sense of freedom and the ability to approach its open-world systems with a wide variety of tactics are almost entirely missing here as a result. There are only nine weapons, all of which (save for your pistol) need to be unlocked by completing challenges across the map (which I would guess is roughly a quarter the size of Far Cry 6's Yara). Those unlocks are persistent, which is handy, but once I was able to start a run with an assault rifle, grenade launcher, or what might be Far Cry’s slowest shotgun, I was well enough equipped that I never felt compelled to unlock any others. You can still freely explore and tackle any activity in any order, including the three main objectives that unlock its final challenge, but your options while doing so ultimately feel rather limited. You can’t manipulate any wildlife, and with no vehicles to speak of you can really only choose whether to run in guns blazing or to try and keep things stealthy – and that’s only if you manage to roll one of the randomized weapon loadouts that happens to come with a silencer.

Like many roguelites, you start with a bare-bones arsenal and use currency looted from chests or defeated enemies to unlock upgrades and equipment that persist throughout each run. Some of these are really valuable, like letting you carry extra healing kits, unlocking gear like the grappling hook and wingsuit, or giving you the ability to keep some of the currency you earned on a run after you die. Others, though, seem hardly worthwhile by the time you bank enough cash to unlock them. Sure, I could spend 6,000 points to unlock ATVs near safe houses, but at this point, I’ve already discovered all the teleporters that zap me around the map. The best use of cash was always unlocking an extra power-up slot for the buffs that drop from chests and enemies around the map, but there are only 8 of those, so eventually my upgrade decisions became a lot less exciting.

What ultimately left me convinced that the roguelite format was a poor fit for Far Cry was its lack of variety. It took me four or five cycles to complete my first run, and given the repetitive nature of its open-world activities and the recycling of the few “boss” characters (on the lowest difficulty, you’ll face one of them a minimum of four times with little to no variation) that you'll encounter throughout each run, I sadly found myself lacking any real drive to revisit much of Control.

Video Game CEOs Made Tens of Millions of Dollars in 2020

Posted on January 15, 2022 by

Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick's salary has been in the news on multiple occasions over the last year. And while he certainly makes significantly more than most, a new report shows that he's in good company, with other gaming CEOs bringing in tens of millions of dollars per year.

Games One has compiled a rundown of video game executive pay in the year 2020 based on company filings, including salary, bonuses, stock, and other monetary benefits. The report reveals that Bobby Kotick was actually not the highest-earning CEO of 2020 — that prize goes to Robert Antokol, CEO of Israel-based Playtika, which makes free-to-play mobile games. In 2020, Antokol made $372 million in total compensation, while Kotick brought in $154.6 million.

While they were far and away the top earners, other gaming CEOs similarly made piles of money that year. EA CEO Andrew Wilson received $34.7 million in 2020, while Zynga's Frank Gibeau earned $32 million. Take-Two (which just announced its intention to acquire Zynga) saw its CEO Strauss Zelnick bring in $18 million.

Other notable names on the list include then-GameStop CEO George Sherman's $7.6 million, Roblox CEO David Baszucki earning $6.8 million, Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda receiving $4.2 million, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa receiving $2.8 million, and Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot getting just under one million.

In total, the 42 gaming CEOs earned $842 million in 2020. Notably, these are just CEOs for publicly-traded companies who must disclose CEO pay by law. Privately held companies, such as Valve or Epic, don't disclose these numbers, so there are likely a number of equally high-paid CEOs missing from this list.

For comparison, a handful of companies disclosed their median employee compensation. Activision had the biggest discrepancy between CEO and employee pay, reporting a median employee compensation of $99,100 — basically one dollar for every $1,560 that Kotick earns. GameStop was the second-worst discrepancy, reporting a low, low median employee compensation of $11,033, or one dollar for every $650 Sherman earned in 2020.

Gaming CEO compensation has been under scrutiny in recent years. Kotick's pay in particular was cut earlier last year after repeated criticism, though he's still making $875,000 in salary alone before bonuses and other stock benefits. EA similarly cut CEO Andrew Wilson's pay last year.

Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.

Thumbnail Image Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Tabletop Simulator studio kills global chat for good, makes $10K donation to trans advocacy group

Posted on January 14, 2022 by

Following a controversy over transphobic chat moderation that led to competing review bomb campaigns on Steam, Tabletop Simulator developer Berserk Games has announced that it is closing the game's global chat channel for good. The studio has also donated $10,000 to the National Center for Transgender Equality, an advocacy group that works “to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people.”

The trouble began when a Tabletop Simulator user named Xoe was repeatedly kicked from global chat, and eventually temporarily banned, for sharing the fact that she's gay. Similar proclamations of straight sexuality did not trigger kicks, and efforts to clarify the matter failed. When the situation became public knowledge, both negative a positive user reviews—many containing actual homophobic and transphobic sentiments—spiked on Steam. Berserk Games eventually disabled global chat while it worked to improve its moderation policies, but has now decided to eliminate it entirely.

“We apologize for hurting the Tabletop Simulator community especially those from the LGBTQ+ community,” Berserk Games said in a message posted to Twitter. “With global chat, we only ever intended to create an open platform to discuss the hobby we all love, however, we have obviously fallen short of that standard and so we have decided to officially take global chat down for good.

“Over the past week, we have spent a lot of time evaluating our company-wide practices. We understand that our silence may have been perceived as inaction, however, we realize the gravity of this situation and believe that it needed to be discussed and addressed with careful and intentional consideration.”

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Along with the donation to the National Center for Transgender Equality, Berserk Games also committed to a series of showcases of TTS content created by members of the LGBTQ+ community. It's also continuing to overhaul its moderation policies “to ensure that everyone has an inclusive place to enjoy our great hobby of tabletop gaming.”

“We promise that these actions are just the first step in our renewed commitment to creating a culture that values inclusivity in board gaming and the world,” Berserk wrote. “We appreciate all of the feedback and suggestions from the wonderful TTS community and hope, with hard work, to regain the trust and respect of the Tabletop Simulator family.”

Some on Twitter and Reddit have praised the response, while others view it as either insincere or pandering; a few have called on Berserk to let owners refund the game (presumably without restriction) to demonstrate their remorse. Xoe, whose experiences sparked the uproar, said on Twitter that Berserk's statement is “undoubtedly good” if it's true, but that she needs to “see receipts to believe them.”

“I've divested myself of TTS entirely, and I don't know when I'll feel emotionally safe to use it, even for playtesting others' prototypes. I'm sorry, that feels selfish, but this culmination of events leaves me unable to engage with a mind for design, or a spirit for fun,” she wrote. “I can't decide for you if you can use TTS again. I just ask that you consider, 'Do I want closure so I know the community is being properly respected and honored, or is it so I don't have to laboriously adopt new infrastructure without such harmful patterns?'”

LGBTQ+ Tabletop Simulator creators who'd like to be featured in Berserk's upcoming showcases can submit their work here.

Halo Infinite devs plan to roll out a fix for Big Team Battle matchmaking next week

Posted on January 14, 2022 by

Halo Infinite's Big Team Battle multiplayer hasn't been completely unplayable for the last month, but it's definitely had problems: larger matchmaking parties often have difficulty getting into games, and disconnects were commonplace even when you could catch a match. After trying to solve Big Team Battle's issues over the holiday break, 343 now has an hotfix going through certification.

“As long as no issues arise, we are targeting releasing this hot fix middle of next week,” wrote Halo community director Brian Jarrard on Friday.

As an apology for the BTB woes, 343 is also giving all players who log in 5 XP Boosts and 5 Challenge swaps when the hotfix goes live. Jarrard said that the freebies would be available for “about a month,” so there's no rush to log in and grab them.

“We continue to work towards the mid-February patch and will share details as we get closer,” Jarrard continued. “Additionally, work continues on plans/updates to other key topics we know are top of mind for the community (economy, armor customization, ranked, cheating, networking, etc.).”

It's good news for Big Team Battle players, but as Nat noted this week, what's available in Halo Infinite right now does feel stretched thin, and that seems likely to continue until the arrival of its second season in May, if not longer—the Forge mapmaking mode isn't expected to arrive until season 3, even later in 2022.

Game Scoop! 658: Xbox’s Incredible Comeback

Posted on January 14, 2022 by

Welcome back to IGN Game Scoop!, the ONLY video game podcast! This week your Omega Cops — Daemon Hatfield, Tina Amini, Sam Claiborn, and Justin Davis — are discussing the Xbox vs. PlayStation console race, flipping through the January 2001 issue of GamePro, and observing some important gaming anniversaries. And, of course, they play Video Game 20 Questions.

Watch the video above or hit the link below to your favorite podcast service.

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Find previous episodes here!