Month: May 2015

Dota 2 International Prize Pool Reaches  Over $10 Million

Love it or hate it, with close to 11 Million monthly players, Dota 2 is the 2nd most popular MOBA in the world. Last year, Valve introduced the Compendium(TI4 Wiki) for the 4th International, the world championship series for the popular game.  With a starting prize pool of $1.6 Million the Compendium offered a way for players and fans of the game to purchase an in game item that contributed to the overall prize pool of the game. Priced at $10, $2.50 of each Compendium Purchase added to the total prize pool, and resulted in a  $10,930,698 pool for the winning teams, with the Final Champions bringing home nearly $5 Million. This year Valve has once again put up a starting $1.6 Million at the begging of May. Where does this number stand now? Well, let's take a look.


Needless to say this prize pool just might break last years record by July 3rd. With the Open Qualifiers having just rounded up, this years International is shaping up to be quite an exciting event.  Be sure to mark the date, August 3-8.You can check out the teams that will be playing at the event here.
For more about what comes with a compendium purchase and a list of its stretch goals check out the Compendium Page.
For more Gaming News keep coming back to check us out right here and on Twitter @Twinstiq.

Source: Dota 2 Blog

Sing Some Songs And Buff Your Friends.  The Bard Might Be Back.  [Updated!  Free Stuff!]

Please see the final paragraph of this article for updated information on the Kickstarter.Long ago and far away in the mid-80’s, a classic Role Playing Game came out that introduced the idea of The Bard, a singer of spells who would make your party stronger with his songs. These were turn-based dungeon crawls that had a modicum of 3D, animated portrait art and that need to map the world around you, because the game did not include auto mapping.

And then, thirty years passed in the blink of an eye...

Sadly, the turn-based style of role playing game fell out of favour in the 90’s and instead we got Diablo-likes aplenty. This didn’t seem to bode well for The Bard. At least that’s the way it would seem until 2004, when a hilarious action RPG variant was made of the game.

Taking RPG tropes and subverting them, this outing was considerably lighter in tone than most other RPG’s of the era, but the trouble was that it never quite rang true to the roots of The Bard’s Tale.

Enter InXile Entertainment, a company that has – slowly – been showing their pedigree through games like Torment:  Tides of Numera, a Kickstarted game that shares themes with cult classic Planescape:  Torment and Wasteland 2, a new follow-up to a venerable, deep role playing experience that was arguably the seed for fan-favourites Fallout 1 and 2.

Given their success with Kickstarter, InXile are turning to the crowd funding platform again to Kickstart a fourth Bard’s Tale.  And this time, they’ll be taking the series back to that mystical turn-based era.

The Kickstarter starts on the 2nd of June, 2015. So get ready to fund some turn based spell singing.Update!  If you back the project on the first day with a $20 pledge, you can also get either The Witcher 1, The Witcher 2 or Wasteland 2.  This offer is ONLY valid for that first twenty four hours.

New Steam Store Releases: Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R

This week saw a ridiculous number of new games hit the Steam Store. The stand-out, in my opinion, is Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R (yes, the title is a bit absurd, but the game itself is glorious). If you're a fan of arcade games or fighting games (or arcade fighting games), I would recommend picking it up without hesitation.Accent Core Plus R represents the last of several updates to Guilty Gear XX. As such, it is the last in the Guilty Gear series (probably) to feature hand drawn sprites, as well as the last to be displayed in standard 4:3 aspect ratio (although you can't stretch the image to widescreen, you can disable the sidebar art). Also out this week, a previously PlayStation-only JRPG, a previously PlayStation-only Japanese Beat 'Em Up with a clothes-stripping twist, a previously mobile-only Game-of-the-Year award winner, and many others. Destroy your opponent and then jump past the break to see more of this week's new releases.

  • Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R (Arc System Works, Single & Multi-player, $14.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
  • Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 (Idea Factory, Single-player, $29.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
  • Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed (Acquire, Single-player, $29.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
  • Badland (Frogmind, Single-player & Co-op, $9.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
  • Bladestorm: Nightmare (Koei Tecmo, Single-player & Co-op, $59.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
  • Magicka 2 (Paradox Interactive, Single & Multi-player, $14.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
  • A Bastard's Tale (No Pest Productions, Single-player, $4.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
  • Magnetic: Cage Closed (Guru Games, Single-player, $14.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
  • Audiosurf 2 (Dylan Fitterer, Single-player & Co-op, $14.99) (Controller Support)
  • Catlateral Damage (Chris Chung, Single-player, $9.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
  • Flame Over (Laughing Jackal, Single-player, $11.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
  • The Next Penelope (Aurelien Regard, Single & Multi-player, $12.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
  • Horizon Shift (Flump Studios, Single-player, $4.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
[Image: Arc System Works]

Andrew J Amideo

[UPDATE] Cliffhanger Productions Bankruptcy: New Developments

UPDATE: A new statement has been released by Cliffhanger, outlining some details and plans for the future. Head over to the Steam Forum via this link to read it.Cliffhanger Productions (Shadowrun Chronicles) are having financial issues that lead them to file for bankruptcy. Even though we only just covered this, there have been a couple of new developments since then.

For starters, their Managing Director Jan Wagner now told the Austrian publication DerStandard (source is german): “We will see how things pan out for the team over the coming week, once the insolvency administrator has talked to us. There will certainly be cuts, but we are called Cliffhanger for a reason. This is not the end for either Shadowrun or us”

Michael Paeck, also Managing Director at Cliffhanger, told (also german): “Shadowrun Chronicles is not affected by the insolvency and both operation and further development will continue. They will be handled by our affiliate company Cliffhanger Productions Games GmbH (a separate legal entity from the now bankrupt Cliffhanger Productions Software GmbH)”
Paeck also mentions that they are currently in talks with potential investors, but to no avail yet.


And then there is this statement on the Steam Forum

So, what could this all mean?
First off: Players of Shadowrun Chronicles will probably still be able to enjoy the game for some time. No promises can be made, but if all of this is true, then things are looking quite a bit brighter for the games future.

UGE_plex mentioned in our comments that Nordic Games, who are also based in Vienna, was heavily involved in publishing and distribution. We also know that Nordic has been securing IPs and games left and right for the last couple of months. While certainly not a AAA publisher, they do seem to care for their franchises and them acquiring as much of the assets on sale as possible, would sound like a good move for both parties.

There is also still the possibility of a composition proceeding, which would mean that the company would be able to continue operating. This would however mean, that the creditors approve the reducing of the debt that has to be paid.

I will try to keep you updated on this developing story, and if you have any new information leave us a comment.

Sources:,, Steam Forum

WRUP: Underink Squad

With the release of one of the most controversial games this year, I’m going to send you off into the weekend, you know, so you can play it and shoot things. In the end, you have to see for yourself if it’s really as bad as everyone led you to believe when it was first shown. Sure, its low price point and the marketing that is directed mostly at kids is something that we need to talk about at some point, but let’s be honest: which decent parent buys their kid a game called …Splatoon? An awesome one, I guess.

Whats everyone playing over the weekend?

  • Andrew J Amideo (@Andoro36): Freedom Planet, Fallout: New Vegas.
  • Billy Colley (@Amuntoth): I'll be finishing Chroma Squad, streaming some Sega Master System Pro Wrestling, and also streaming some Flame Over
  • Cody Hall (@Yoda0VGs): Get another job non simulator 2015, some dues ex and Witcher 3 to escape life inbetween interviews.
  • Greywolfe (@lostwolfe, YouTube): the dig [which is nearly done], limbo and quest for glory 2 [which is also nearly done.]
  • Jimmy Vegas (@JimmyPhantom17): Still working through Wolfenstein The New Order
  • John Rausch (@visitzebes): Splatoon!
  • Jye Cauffle:I'm playing Bloodborne when I get a chance, can't wait for the DLC
  • Thomas Ortsik (@Dr_Strangethumb): No clue. So many great games, so little time. Would love to play some Splatoon, but my credit card says NOOOO!
  • Trisha Baumgartner (twitch): Started playing through saints row 4, also doing a ton of instances on wow while I work this weekend.
  • Trey Valeska (@Trey_Valeska): NEON STRUCT,  Insurgency, and Super Win the Game. (Happy weekend!)
  • Whylekat: 30 hours deep into Witcher 3.  Can't stop now.
  • Richard Mitchell (@TheRichardM): Bloodborne and Vain Glory. Got that MOBA itch. Wish I had an iPad though.
  • Sam Prell (@SamPrell): Just got two bosses before a Bloodborne platinum is mine, ALL MINE!!
  • Susan Arendt (@SusanArendt): Plague, Inc. There is nothing as soothing as destroying the world.
  • Mike Suszek (@mikesuszek): I'm playing the "marry my best friend" game. And maybe Destiny!
  • Anthony John Agnello (@ajohnagnello, Twitch): I got that itch to Witch, baby.


[UPDATE] Shadowrun Chronicles Dev Declares Bankruptcy

UPDATE: Cliffhanger confirmed on Steam that the servers will stay up and that a new update for the game is on track.
2nd UPDATE: According to Cliffhanger employee “loquee”, the fate of the company is not yet decided.
UPDATE the 3rd: Couple of new developments you can find in our follow-up story

Cliffhanger Productions, developer of Aerena and the recently launched Shadowrun Chronicles will most likely close its doors. The Austrian studio declared bankruptcy in front of the Viennese Commercial Court and already got assigned a liquidator.

Despite having a rough time with Shadowrun Chronicles during its launch week (wrong listing on Steam, power outage in the office and a missing letter in the configuration file), the game was able to regain the trust of the community fairly quickly and now has a “Mostly Positive” ranking on Steam.
However, with the closure of the studio, which would also lead to 29 people losing their job, there would probably be no more support for the game. This is especially worrying since it only just launched at the end of April and still has some very rough edges.
Creditors can file any claims until July 21st at the Viennese Commercial Court, with an examination hearing following on August 4th.

This is a strong blow to the perpetually endangered Austrian game development scene and I personally wish everyone who lost (or could lose) their job good luck.

New Nintendo eShop Releases: Splatoon, Mega May (Finale)

This week sees the launch of Nintendo's first online multiplayer third-person shooter. And it's kid-friendly, no less! Color me intrigued (pardon the pun). Although, from what I hear, the game isn't compatible with the Pro Controller. Which seems a bit ridiculous, if you ask me. Also this week, Mega May comes to a close with the release of not one, but three Mega Man games! Well, two really, if you count Red Sun and Blue Moon as the same game (which they essentially are). Still, the surprise addition of Mega Man Zero 3 is not a bad way to wrap things up. Now, go fill your Super Soakers with paint and then jump past the break to see more of this week's new releases.
Wii U

[Image: Nintendo]

Andrew J Amideo
[Source: Business Wire]

An Interview with David Pittman, from Minor Key Games.

This week I sit down for a quick interview with David Pittman, co-founder and one half of Minor Key games to discuss his new release, NEON STRUCT. Previously, he released the well received Eldritch, a Lovecraftian rouge-lite.  His twin brother and partner Kyle, is responsible for the excellent platformers: You Have to Win the Game and Super Win the Game.

NEON STRUCT is a first person stealth game with shades of Eldritch, Thief, and Deus Ex. These influences are just smaller parts of a whole. It's clear to see, NEON STRUCT stands on its own two legs. But enough sneaking around, here’s David Pittman in his own words:

TV: You just released your second game under the Minor Key banner, NEON STRUCT. Can you tell us what it brings to the table?

DP: NEON STRUCT is a political thriller stealth game. Set in a neon-and-concrete Brutalist world and loosely inspired by the modern surveillance state, it casts the player as agent Jillian Cleary, an ex-spy on the run from her former agency.

 TV: In what ways did real world events, such as Snowden, Manning, and Assange inform the gameplay and story?

DP: Edward Snowden and the NSA leaks were the initial spark for the concept of NEON STRUCT. I felt like there was a nice thematic and mechanical harmony in casting the player in the Edward Snowden role in a stealth game.
One of the primary characters has similar motivations to Assange, but otherwise, NEON STRUCT's fictional characters do not closely shadow any real persons.

TV: The soundtrack for the game features The Home Conversion.  There could have been a lot of stereotypical soundtracks for a game like this. What lead you to do something different with music in relation to the setting?

 DP: The Home Conversion's music was actually an early inspiration for the tone and feel of the game. When I heard their song "Cave Living", I envisioned a distinctive 1980s neon-lit world, which gradually developed into the style of NEON STRUCT's art.
So they were naturally my first choice for the game's soundtrack, and I was thrilled when they offered to not only provide their existing songs but write and record new material for the game.

TV: You mention the Brutalist choice of architecture in the art book. Can you tell us what lead you to that decision and how it fit the world you were building?

 DP: In the months immediately after Eldritch's release, before it was clear how successful that game would eventually be, my plan was to rapidly develop something new and different but using as much of the same engine and core technology as possible. I would have to continue using that game's voxel engine, but I wanted to avoid the Minecraft visual style this time around.
The solution I found was to emulate Brutalism, a style of architecture that was already known for its imposing blocky shapes and right angles. The fact that Brutalist buildings are also strongly associated with the Cold War era and that distinct kind of political fear made the choice even more appropriate for NEON STRUCT.

An example of the architecture in NEON STRUCT.
TV: Where there any ideas of level settings you thought would be fun, but just wouldn’t fit into the game’s world?

DP: I cut two levels during development. The first was a network of underground tunnels running from downtown Philadelphia to the outskirts of the city. (For those who have played NEON STRUCT, this level would have followed The Old Basilica.) It had sounded like an interesting space on paper: a crumbling maze of train tunnels and sewer lines, where fugitives from the surveillance state eked out an existence in ad hoc underground towns. But in game, it was dull, didn't advance the plot, and didn't feel "NEON STRUCT-y" enough.
The second level to be cut was an underwater train ride across the Atlantic. It never existed in the game in any form, and was cut because it was superfluous to the story and I wasn't sure a train could ever be a good space for stealth gameplay.TV: Can you tell us a little about how the art style came to be?

DP: Because of the size of the game, compared to its very small team, I needed to find clever ways to reduce the amount of work. I wanted to make something as low-fidelity as Eldritch, but without that game's Minecraft-ish style.
The thin, flat, faceless character design was primarily inspired by the style of Nigel Evan Dennis's graphic tribute to Game of Thrones, "Where Have All the Wildlings Gone?" (

TV: Your last game, Eldritch; didn’t have much dialog or as involved a story. Was writing for these characters daunting?

DP: After Eldritch, I began to worry that without the constant presence of my former coworkers in the AAA industry, my skillset would stagnate. So on NEON STRUCT, challenged myself to tackle certain kinds of work I hadn't done before. The first was stealth level design, and the second was writing dialogue. I gave it my best effort, but I also tried very hard to keep the dialogue minimal, so every line would tell the player something important about the game, the world, or a character.

A neon soaked night club.
TV: Care and respect seem to be taken in portraying characters of different race, gender, and faith in NEON. How did you go about developing these characters?

DP: Diversity in the cast was one of my goals from the start. When I was developing the plot outline and the major characters, I tried to make sure that there was a good mix of genders, nationalities, and more. I also developed a random character generator for the AIs, so guards have a broad range of skin colors and a 50/50 chance of using either the men or women body/hair meshes.
One of the challenges for me was presenting non-male or non-white characters authentically. In certain cases, I consulted with people so I could learn more about the identities of the characters I was trying to write. For better or worse, I often wasn't able to make the story about those identities, and it is possible that the characters are a little interchangeable as a result. But I have tried to avoid stereotypes and to treat each character respectfully.

TV: Has having to be your own PR department and community manager without the insulation afforded by a large publisher been a blessing or a curse?

DP: After years in AAA games, I still find it refreshing that I can be so transparent about what I'm working on and why. I think it fosters a better relationship between developers and players (or developers and press) when we can speak directly and honestly with each other.

TV: What can we look forward to next from Minor Key?

DP: Our next planned title is Kyle's Gunmetal Arcadia, an NES-styled platformer roguelike set in a war-torn fantasy world. He is documenting its progress weekly at its devlog:
And coming out very soon is a big update and relaunch for Super Win the Game, with new content, enhancements, and a lower price tag.

TV: My editor is Austrian and is curious about the German subtitle. What lead to that choice?

DP: In the very early days of NEON STRUCT, I wanted a non-English title that might evoke the globetrotting nature of the game. I tried the phrase "the eyes of the world" in a number of languages, and chose German because I liked the sound and because one of the later levels is set in Hamburg.

NEON STRUCT is available now on Steam and Humble (DRM-free). A demo is also available:

Twitch Bans AO Streaming

The Amazon owned video streaming service Twitch is updating their policies to forbid content featuring AO rated games. Forbes believes that it's not a coincidence, and that the change in stance is due to Hatred's June 1st release date.
Twitch has already taken steps to prevent nudity and suggestive visuals on personal streams, and it may not be a surprise to see them try to avoid controversy elsewhere.There don't seem to be too many of these games around, does this have any effect on you at all? Are you bothered by the principal of the ban? Let us know your point of view!

Source: Forbes