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Splash Damage

Dirty Bomb photo
Dirty Bomb

Splash Damage's team-based shooter Dirty Bomb hits Steam


It's still in beta!
Jun 02
// Jordan Devore
Huh. It feels like literal years have passed since I last paid much attention to Dirty Bomb, the free-to-play, class-oriented, multiplayer first-person shooter from Brink developer Splash Damage. It's still around. Stranger y...
Dirty Bomb photo
Dirty Bomb

Dirty Bomb is hitting open beta on June 2


It's not quite Brink, but it could be
May 28
// Joe Parlock
I’ve mentioned this on Destructoid before, but I’ll be damned if I’m missing the chance to mention it again: Brink was a great game, people were wrong about it being bad. I bring that up, because Brink devel...
Dirty Bomb photo
Dirty Bomb

Dirty Bomb's grenade launching class is ingeniously called Nader


Someone get them the Nobel Prize in character naming
Apr 24
// Joe Parlock
Have you been enjoying my news posts on Destructoid so far? Well hold on to your undercrackers because after this paragraph you sure as fuck won't: I loved Brink. I pre-ordered it, I played it to death, I got a character to ...

Dirty Bomb aims high with its focus on hardcore FPS action

Mar 26 // Alessandro Fillari
Dirty Bomb (PC)Developer: Splash DamagePublisher: Nexon Release date: March 26th 2015 (Open Access) "For us, we were kind of accustomed to shipping packaged products and retail games, so that within itself was a different mentality to production,"said Splash Damage co-founder and chief branding officer Richard Jolly while discussing their transition to developing a free-to-play title. "So you essentially get the game to what is considered open beta, which is pretty much the final game in most cases, and then the players will play it, release a few updates and a bit of DLC, and then you walk away from it. But with Dirty Bomb, we're kind of back to mod-making. It's constantly evolving, and the game we had in the alpha with our fans is completely different than what we had now. It's interesting to have that level of transparency with our fans, and that's really helped us because we're still actively developing the game." [embed]289520:57922:0[/embed] Set in near-future London, the city had been plunged into chaos after a mysterious "dirty bomb" released toxic gases and large amounts of radiation. In the years since, London is now an abandoned husk of its former self, and the only ones willing to venture into the decaying remains of England's capital city are mercenaries who see the opportunity where others do not. With valuables and other fortunes to find in London, those crazy enough to set foot inside will have to fight for their riches in order to make it out on top. While on the surface it feels like a grittier and more mature take on Team Fortress 2, there's certainly a lot more going on with Dirty Bomb than at first glance. In total, there are several unique characters with their own arsenals and backstories. While many of them share a similar archetype, such as the sniper, medic, and assault classes, they each have access to their own particular set of skills and weapons that are specific to them. There's a lot of humor and humanity found in Dirty Bomb, and the accompanying flavor text that describes each character and their motives for merc work did a lot to bring me in. When in battle, you can select a squad of three characters. These three are the characters you can switch off from during the game, so you'll have to choose wisely. I mostly stuck with Phoenix, Vassili, and Arty, a medic, sniper, and support group. Though I initially was confused on how exactly I could switch off between the character gear, I quickly picked it up after a few minutes of play. Essentially, the members of your squad are loadouts, similar to those in Call of Duty or Battlefield, and you'll have need to switch between them in order to stay ahead of your foes. During a match in the game mode Stopwatch, a neat mix between the standard demolition and capture the flag modes, I was able to switch off between the characters when they were needed. Set on the map Terminal, the attackers have to plants charges on a wall within the quarantine zone in order to gain access to the train station that houses valuable documents that the attackers need to destroy -- but of course, the data is being protected by another group of mercs who aim to keep them intact. Playing on both sides, I found that I needed to switch up my classes more often, as when I was attacking I had to stay healed more often. While on defense, I needed to pick off the oncoming threat from afar. I was really impressed with how the flow of the game motivated me to switch things up more often, as I usually just stick with one class in other titles. I felt I experimented more often in this title than in most other shooters. This aspect of experimentation was something that the developers wished they players would explore. "Games are always an evolution, right? Especially since we were making this for ourselves, before the publisher stepped in," said lead designer Neil Alphonso. "We wanted to really bring out the characters of the mercs. They look really cool, and we wanted to reflect that in the gameplay more. So far it's worked really well, we've had players come up with combinations that we would've never expected in closed testing that we never would've expected, and of course we're gonna have to keep adjusting to that." When you win matches and collect cash, you can purchase cases that yield merc cards that offer a different variation for each character. Spanning across different rarity types, each type of card will offer that specific character a new loadout and special perks. For instance, I found a found a bronze card for Vassili, which not only gave him a new sniper rifle with higher rate of fire, but also gave him the ability to throw his melee weapon. As you find rarer cards, you'll gain access to new abilities and weapons for your characters. Though lead and bronze cards are very common, silver and gold cards really change the game for your characters, as they turn your merc into an elite badass decked out with perks and other special gear. While it's possible to the find much of the content on your own without ever spending a dime by combining junk cards and turning them into rare ones -- there are many different options to take advantage of if you feel as though you want get content quicker. As credits can be acquired pretty easily, you can always be comfortable with what you have, and the developers were clear that Dirty Bomb is a game that will not be "pay-to-win." "If you're making a competitive shooter, something that's hardcore, then the first thing people want is a fair playing field," said Alphonso. "The way I look at it, and it's a bit idealistic, but you just have to make a game that people enjoy enough, that they want to give you money. Rather than they feel like they need you to in order to compete." It's not too often that we see a F2P title with so much openness and transparency from the developers. Generally, the free-to-play genre has somewhat of a bad reputation because of poor practices from certain titles. And while it's understandable that many players feel a bit apprehensive for upcoming ones, I can say that Dirty Bomb was a pretty rad title in the hours I spent with it. Though I kinda wished that the developers stuck with Brink's traversal system, because that'd be such a welcome fit for this game, I found the action in DB to be pretty hectic, bombastic, and super satisfying to take part in. Not only did I feel like I got in some great action moments, going on a seven-kill streak was pretty damn great, but I also felt like I was a pretty integral part of the team as a healer and support unit. With the game available on Steam, now's your chance to get involved with the game that's been in the works for quite some time. And since it's still an on-going process, the developers have continued plans to roll out new features and content in the coming months, such as new maps and other cool content. I had a blast (no pun intended), and the folks from Splash Damage haven't lost their touch for fast and frenetic FPS gameplay.
Dirty Bomb photo
Rule 1: Don't be a dick
The folks at Splash Damage have been busy over the last two years. Since the release of Brink and a stint on Batman: Arkham Origins' multiplayer, they figured it was time to return to their roots with a heavy focus on PC...

Review: Batman: Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart

Apr 22 // Chris Carter
Batman: Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Warner Bros. Games Montréal / Splash DamagePublisher: Warner Bros.Released: April 22nd, 2014MSRP: $9.99 (part of the Season Pass) Batman: Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart takes place just a few days after the main story, proving once again that even Batman never sleeps. It doesn't waste much time getting into the thick of things, as the DLC kicks off at Wayne Manor. Ferris Boyle, CEO of GothCorp, is just about to accept a humanitarian award on New Year's Eve when "bam!" Mr. Freeze and some thugs bust in. Thugs break up the party almost immediately, and out from the icy backdrop comes Mr. Freeze. Fans of Batman: The Animated Series will feel right at home, as Freeze's voice and the story's premise is derived directly from the show. Freeze once again sports an imposing, unique voice, and since this is Batman's first encounter with him, you get that air of mystery if you don't know what his backstory entails. You even get to learn his origin story through a particularly cool crime reconstruction scene. The DLC moves fast, and even though you'll start off knocking a few thugs around as Bruce Wayne, it doesn't take long until you're in the all-powerful batsuit. You'll also meet a few familiar faces like Vicki Vale and Penguin, so this isn't just a "Batman vs. Freeze" joint, and the narrative was entertaining enough to keep me interested throughout. I also enjoyed getting to see a bit more of the Wayne Manor, including the wine cellar and a hidden passageway that leads to the batcave. [embed]273454:53498:0[/embed] To be clear, Cold, Cold Heart is a completely separate option from the main menu (so you won't get all your upgrades and level-ups), but Batman still keeps all of the equipment he earned before, under the presumption that you completed the core game. He still has his wonderful toys, up to and including the shock fists. To combat the cold, Bats has another trick up his sleeve -- the EX Suit -- a batsuit completely unique to the DLC. It's a bit ridiculous looking as it's rather bulky, and it's functionality the same as the normal suit, subbing out shock gloves for thermal gloves, and a sonic batarang for a thermal batarang that can melt ice. Still, it's a noble effort to differentiate Cold Heart from the rest of the package, even if Batman doesn't get said EX suit until roughly halfway through the add-on.  As usual, while you're unwinding the tale of Freeze and his motivations, you'll engage in a series of predator and combat arenas, which don't really show off any new mechanics outside of some cronies that now pack freeze-ready cryo-guns. Your adventures will quickly take you out of Wayne Manor and into the massive skyscraper of GothCorp itself, as well as one of Penguin's hideouts. The locations are well presented and fun to romp through, even if they aren't the most strikingly original locales. You'll also get a chance to do battle with Freeze himself in a two-phase fight -- one that involves a lot of cronies and a cat-and-mouse game -- and another that mirrors your encounter with him in Arkham City. What I like most about Cold, Cold Heart though is the attention to detail. The icy theme permeates throughout the add-on, and in addition to almost everything being coated in it, there are a lot of nuances like warm breaths from characters, ice on Batman's cap, and frozen stalactites that can be broken and used against your enemies. The DLC as a whole is roughly three to five hours long, and has its own sidequests, most notably the ability to free 20 citizens from their icy fates with the EX suit before they freeze to death. You'll also get to explore a portion of Arkham itself in open-world format, without getting too out of hand and offtrack. Cold, Cold Heart feels like a legitimate addition to the Arkham Origins lore, and not just a cheap cash-in. It's definitely a side story that's too big to be shoved into the core game, even if it doesn't really innovate in any meaningful way. While I wouldn't go out of my way to buy Arkham Origins just for it, I'd implore any current owner to take a look.
Batman DLC review photo
Goodnight... humanitarian
So far, the Batman Arkham Origins Season Pass has been a steaming pile of poop. Buyers have received some extremely underwhelming skin packs, and a piss-poor series of challenge maps for their cash, with the promise...

Review: Batman: Arkham Origins: Initiation

Dec 31 // Chris Carter
Batman: Arkham Origins: Initiation (PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360 [tested])Developer: Warner Bros. Games Montréal / Splash DamagePublisher: Warner Bros.Released: December 15, 2013MSRP: $6.99 (part of the Season Pass)Right off the bat, Initiation is pretty messy, even in terms of how you access the DLC. After a decent amount of searching, I ended up finding it under story > challenge mode > campaign > second page > Rite of Passage. In total, the DLC includes two skins, five story maps, and two extra challenge maps that are unlocked if you beat Rite of Passage with Bruce. The skins are Initiation Bruce Wayne (basically Bruce in Monk garb) and Vigilante Bruce Wayne (an urban ninja skin), which you can use in this add-on or elsewhere in Challenge Mode. Initiation is basically a loose collection of challenge maps, with a light amount of cutscenes sprinkled throughout. I'd really hesitate to call the DLC a "story," as the narrative is pitiful. The framing device is basically the same origin tale you've read or watched a million times -- Bruce wants to learn how to fight crime pre-Batman, so he goes to some monastery/training grounds to prove his stuff. This time, it's North Korea, under the tutelage of Master Kirigi, and he starts off as a servant. I was actually kind of excited to possibly see something different here, but it was a complete letdown -- mostly because Bruce doesn't utter one word the entire DLC. [embed]268214:52057:0[/embed] Yep, that's right -- the main character doesn't even speak, and before each map, you'll basically get 15 seconds of Master Kirigi talking at you, usually insulting Bruce ("out of pity we let our servant train with us") or explaining the point of the map ("knock out or kill these enemies to proceed"). You do that five times, get a terrible ending, and that's basically it. Lady Shiva returns for a fight which is kind of cool, but it's ultimately as unceremonious as the rest of the DLC. Maps range from your typical arena-based brawl fests to simplistic stealth playgrounds, and outside of the ninja-skinned enemies, are practically indistinguishable from the core game. Enemies are in fact mostly skinned, as their moves simply replicate other foes from the main story (knife types, big ones that need to be stunned, and so on). Specifically, there are three combat-centric maps and two stealth missions, and I really could have gone for more Predator-based levels given the potential for clever designs in the monastery setting. Should you choose to use Bruce for these maps, you'll be able to utilize caltrops, shurikens, kujiki bombs, and your grappling hook basically in the same manner as Batman proper. Kujiki bombs are somewhat cool in that they offer a slightly enhanced effect similar to a ground takedown during fights (and allow you to throw a flurry of shurikens), but most players aren't even going to notice it. The only other difference is that Bruce has a few new animations and instead of using his cape to stun, he'll use a smoke attack. That's...basically it. You'll also have access to Detective Vision during the stealth parts (this makes absolutely no sense), so all in all, it's roughly the same thing as the campaign character. What Initiation should have been is a miniature legit campaign with Challenge Maps as a bonus. With a more unique set of moves for Bruce, and an actual meaningful storyline, it could have been a cool diversion. In it's current state however, it's a pretty poor piece of DLC no matter how you slice it. If you absolutely love challenge maps, it would be a good idea to pick up the Season Pass at a discount, and get Initiation as a cherry on top of the other upcoming story DLC. Otherwise, you're better off ignoring it at full price.
Batman: Arkham Origins photo
A waste of time and money
I was pretty disappointed with Arkham Origins. Maybe not as crushingly disappointed as Jim was, but I still felt like it was the weakest entry in the Arkham saga so far, and Warner Bros. Montreal didn't really do anything to make me confident in the future of the series. Sadly, the newest DLC doesn't do them any favors either.

Review: Batman: Arkham Origins

Oct 28 // Jim Sterling
Batman: Arkham Origins (PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Warner Bros. Games Montréal / Splash DamagePublisher: Warner Bros.Released: October 25, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Arkham Origins is, as the name implies, a story set before the events of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, featuring a younger and more hotheaded Batman as he defends himself against assassins hired by Black Mask. They have one night to "kill the Bat," though things grow significantly more complicated when Batman has his first ever encounter with The Joker and, conveniently, a load of other supervillains who also have never faced Batman before now.  The problem with prequels rears its ugly head. Just as the Star Wars prequels awkwardly shoehorned chance encounters with previously established characters, we're supposed to believe that Batman met not only the Joker, but Bane, Deathstroke, Mad Hatter, Killer Croc, and a whole bunch of other Gotham City antagonists in a single night. It could only have been a couple of years ago, too, if the environment and visible technology are anything to go by. This is despite everyone looking at least a decade younger.  One of the real thrills of the previous Arkham games was in seeing which members of the Batman rogue's gallery would turn up next, a thrill that simply isn't in Origins. The assassins hired to take out Batman are mostly D-list baddies at best, while more credible opponents have simply been pulled from previous games. Apparently, we needed far more Bane, a character who has been in every Arkham game to date, than any newer, more interesting characters. With the exception of Deathstroke and Firefly, fresh introductions to the villain roster inspire little more than apathy.  The lack of excitement inspired by the villains permeates Origins' entire story. While the plot has one or two interesting moments, events seem rushed through and barely fleshed out. The whole assassin storyline becomes an unresolved mess, while the relationship between Batman and Joker condenses years of animosity into a handful of hours. One of Arkham Asylum's biggest strengths was that it avoided any sort of origin story, allowing us to delve straight into a world we knew without trying to sprint clumsily through a back story. In Origins, a team of lesser writers attempts to do what superior talent wisely avoided, and the results are what any reasonable person could expect. Arkham Origin's narrative simply doesn't feel very fleshed out, a problem made all the more galling by Warner Brothers' presumptive promises of incoming downloadable content to "pick up where the story left off." With that in mind, the entire campaign feels like little more than a delivery system for more paid content, which is fairly despicable.  Reusing much of the map from Arkham City, Warner Bros. gives us another open-world game set in Gotham's streets, but one that makes far less sense. Gotham was full of criminal gangs in City because we were in a gated section of town designed solely to house criminal gangs. Gotham was apparently Arkham City years before the events of Arkham City, at least according to Arkham Origins. Makes you wonder what it was that Dr. Strange actually did to change anything in the previous game.  Alongside of the map, most of the gameplay has been recycled too. Yet again, you'll be gliding from rooftop to rooftop, collecting Riddler trophies (now called "extortion data"), and punching out bad guys. Combat is yet again a case of pounding on opponents and obeying button prompts in order to counter enemy attacks, while utilizing the same arsenal of gadgets found in previous titles. Something about melee combat in Origins feels off, with Batman frequently failing to target foes properly, punching thin air, and failing to perform ground takedowns. I replayed Arkham City a few months before this, and found none of the problems with combat that Origins has given me. One fresh addition to the game is quick travel. After clearing out data scrambling devices in key areas of Gotham, Bruce Wayne can use the Batwing to quickly enter a new section of town. This is a welcome new addition, especially since mission destinations seem to force players to cross the same lengthy, interminably boring bridge. That said, one has to watch the same dreary cutscene every time they use the Batwing, but it's better than the lengthy alternative, even if you do have to navigate some poorly designed environmental hindrances to unlock the travel points.  The only other added feature enhances crime scene investigation. Using Batman's trusty Detective Vision, players can examine evidence in crime scenes to build a virtual reconstruction of events. Taking a blatant page from Capcom's Remember Me, these reconstructions may be rewound and replayed in order to find fresh evidence. The attempt to add more detective work into a Batman game is respectable, but the execution leaves much to be desired. Funnily enough, it turns out that watching a blue virtual reality man fly backwards through the air so that you can hunt for little red triangles is very boring.  There are a number of boss fights, though few of them are anywhere near as inventive as the ones in Arkham City -- which weren't all that inventive to begin with. Many of them are just straightforward combat encounters laced with quick-time-events, with the battle against Firefly providing the only truly unique encounter. As for the several Bane fights, they are uniformly repetitive and utterly chaotic. It should be common knowledge that tossing more and more regular enemies into a boss fight doesn't make it more difficult so much as it makes it more of an anarchic bloody mess. It should be common knowledge, but WB didn't know that, apparently. On top of that, Arkham Origins is littered with glitches. I had the game crash on me twice in a row while fast traveling, and I encountered a number of physics bugs that saw enemies become almost untouchable or completely disappear. At one point, I needed to restart a checkpoint because a character I needed to interrogate couldn't be interacted with. These are just the issues I had, with many other users reporting other bugs, such as important ledges that can't be climbed, and horrendous framerate drops. Warner Brothers' proprietary little online account system -- an aping of Origin and uPlay -- also appears to be broken, as using it can further make your game unstable.  Because this product seems to be going out of its way to epitomize the concept of the cynical cash grab, online multiplayer has been crammed in with all the grace of a cat in a bathtub. Essentially a mediocre third-person cover shooter with Batman shoehorned into it, Arkham Origins Online pits three of Bane's thugs against three of Joker's goons, with two other players taking on the roles of the Dark Knight and Robin. It's a three-on-three battle, with the rival gangs capturing territory and shooting each other, while the superheroes use gadgets and predatory stealth to take them out.  As a gang member, you can look forward to awful movement controls, with the character wildly swinging when trying to run, sometimes not running at all, and occasionally refusing to fire his weapon. As Batman or Robin, you get to be frequently stuck on walls, or have diving kick attempts halt in mid-air for no good reason. The demented controls and obnoxious errors were able to be experienced almost instantly, and consequently, I managed to withstand only a few rounds before having to turn it off, utterly appalled.  Add to that a general sense of lag and graphical texture pop-in, and you have one buggy, unwieldy, ugly, deeply unpleasant bit of online guff. It's almost as if the whole thing was cobbled together quickly to satisfy some advertising department goons, so much so that I'm pretty sure that's what happened.  Is there any good in Arkham Origins? Well, when it works properly, there's still a general satisfaction in getting to be the Batman. There is still a basic amusement in stalking criminals, stringing them up by their feet, popping out of vents to tackle enemies, and tossing Batarangs around. It's still neat to grapple up onto buildings, and utilize classic gadgets. WB Montreal can't really take any of the credit for whatever good Origins does, however, considering anything "new" in the game is a malingering disappointment. It must also be said that Troy Baker does an impressive turn as the Joker, whose scenes are sometimes pretty damn fun to watch. There's also one genuinely well done section of the game involving the Clown Prince of Crime, though to detail it would venture into spoiler territory. It's a shame many of the other voice actors, as well as the script, make for difficult listening. Anything involving the Penguin and his "British" assistant is so badly written and terribly acted that I felt almost offended. There are few things more dismaying in the videogame industry than a publisher that's willing to throw its own creative successes under the bus for a chance at easy money. This is what Warner Bros. has done with Arkham Origins. It's contemptuously pissed all over what Rocksteady accomplished with the previous Arkham games and shat out a soulless wreckage of a game. The only good in Origins comes from work already accomplished in previous games, with a whole lot of bad added in. If all you want is to re-experience Arkham City's gameplay, I'd recommend you just replay Arkham City, because at least that packed in a lot more fan service and didn't make such blatant concessions for narrative DLC and utterly contrived multiplayer modes.  If Batman: Arkham Origins does one thing well, it's epitomize the kind of exploitative garbage that has steadily eroded so much faith in the so-called "AAA" gaming scene. When publishers whine and moan about piracy or used sales, this is the kind of game you can point to when you ask if it's any surprise that so few customers are willing to gamble $60 on a brand new game. This is the kind of game that, when publishers panic over flagging sales, you can hold up and say, "You did it to yourselves."  In that regard, Batman: Arkham Origins is not the game this industry needs. It's the game it deserves.
Batman: Arkham Origins photo
Defective Vision
Batman: Arkham Origins had to endure a lot of cynicism from the peanut gallery as it rushed headlong from sudden announcement to pre-Christmas release. It's hardly surprising, too -- after the Arkham series earned high c...

Extraction: A free-to-play FPS with some solid roots

Sep 05 // Dale North
Extraction is a team-based FPS free-to-play game, but I saw no indications of that during my meeting and hands-on session. This is a nice, clean FPS with a minimal HUD, some interesting character design, and a gritty, futuristic look. Oh, and maybe too much brown.  But from top to bottom this looks like a well-polished console or PC shooter from a top developer, with none of the nasty free-to-play speedbumps getting in the way.  Splash Damage CEO Paul Wedgwood explained that they didn't really dwell much on the monetization side when developing Extraction. Even with partner Nexon CEO Min Kim in the same room, Wedgwood admitted to not really knowing how monetization will work. When I asked if that wasn't at least a little bit scary, Wedgwood said that they would figure it out in time. He says that as of now, no financial projections have been written for Extraction. Right now it's not a priority, he says.  "We know that there is sufficient content in the game that we can find ways to generate revenue with," Wedgwood explained. Splash Damage are a smart group. Hopefully they're smart enough to know that "pay-to-win" sucks. We'll have to wait to see what they do. Set in London in 2020, following unexplained attacks on the city, Extraction has mercenaries working to either gather or destroy the secrets behind these attacks, depending on which team you're on. In my demo, the map had one team trying to hack a railroad terminal and later blow up a rail car filled with data, while the other team worked to defend it. These two objectives were to be met while going up against a countdown timer. Add in the opposing team and there was pressure from all directions. Well, not for me as much. I played as a medic -- one of the five classes Splash Damage were showing at the event. They've been playing with about 20 class types in their closed alpha tests, but the five at PAX made for a nice team mix. As you'd expect, the medic is light on firepower, though his reviving paddles make for a fun melee attack. I mostly spent time watching teammates' asses, throwing out health packs for them and myself like there was no tomorrow.  Teamwork is the name of the game here. Each class has its own abilities and loadouts that compliment the rest. From what I saw, you can't be the lone hero in these objectives. Your scout can get out there and get the lay of the land, but he can't take hits, for example. He'd work with someone stronger to move the team forward. When it came to the hacking objective, some classes, like the engineer, are much faster than others. And me, being the medic -- well, I was always needed as the world is pretty light on ammo and recovery items.  Even with excellent team work, you'll die sometimes. And with each death comes a lesson. Extraction shows you exactly how you died with models showing you and your attacker in the exact locations the death happened. If you're smart, you'll learn from it. If you're angry, you'll find your attacker and pay them back. I only saw bit of Extraction, but it seemed solid. With games like Batman: Arkham Origins' multiplayer mode under their belt, Splash Damage know what they're doing it. Extraction also received positive feedback from PAX attendees, with a constant line at their booth for the full four days of the show. I don't know that it's breaking any ground for the genre, but on the other hand I suppose a polished, respectable free-to-play first-person shooter is pretty rare these days. Splash Damage looks to have exactly that in the works.
Extraction hands-on photo
Splash Damage partners with NEXON
Many of my staff members wander off in the other direction after hearing things like "free-to-play first-person shooter." I get it. But I wanted to see Extraction's debut at PAX this past weekend because Splash Damage were be...

Arkham Origins photo
Arkham Origins

Arkham Origins on Wii U lacks multiplayer, naturally


Just another day
Aug 01
// Tony Ponce
Wii U is looking pretty down in the dumps. Maybe some quality software in the near future will cheer it right back up. Perhaps a little Batman: Arkham Origins -- I hear it's got multiplayer now. Well, it does on every platfor...
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First gameplay footage of Splash Damage's Dirty Bomb


Check out the Brink developer's latest flavor
Dec 14
// Jim Sterling
Splash Damage has shared some early pre-alpha footage of its upcoming PC multiplayer shooter, Dirty Bomb. Check out the gunfire and explosions blanketing London in the video above. What do you reckon? Looks fairly inoffensiv...
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Splash Damage teases its next PC shooter, Dirty Bomb


Reserve your player name now
Nov 30
// Jordan Devore
The studio behind Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Brink has released a teaser trailer for its next multiplayer first-person shooter, Dirty Bomb. Splash Damage has a minimalistic website running for the game which currently a...
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Counter on Splash Damage webpage teases reveal


6 days left
Nov 23
// Dale North
There's a countdown timer on the Splash Damage webpage. It seems that the people behind Brink have something new coming up, with a reveal scheduled on midday, November 29.  The logo on this timer is surely a hint. Any ideas? The image name is 'car_teaser' if that means anything to you. You might want to poke around in the forum for hints.
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Brink sold an estimated 2.5 million copies worldwide


Apr 23
// Jim Sterling
Despite mixed reviews, documented lag issues, and a heap of criticism from players, Splash Damage's Brink is estimated to have sold around 2.5 million copies. According to CEO Paul Wedgewood, the Bethesda-published multi...
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Brink 'Agents of Change' DLC now arrives August 3


Jul 29
// Jim Sterling
Brink's "Agents of Change" DLC was scheduled to arrive tomorrow, but it's been pushed back a little bit to August 3. Don't worry though, it'll still be free for the first two weeks. That's nice! The content will be available ...
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Brink studio doesn't take crunch periods for granted


Jul 26
// Jim Sterling
Brink developer Splash Damage has added its two cents to the ongoing "crunch period" debate, stating that prolonged overtime periods are inevitable, but that studios ought not to take them for granted. Respect is key, accordi...
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Brink 'Agents of Change' DLC on July 30, free for 2 weeks


Jun 24
// Jim Sterling
Bethesda has announced that Brink's first downloadable content pack, "Agents of Change," will hit Steam, Xbox 360 and PS3 from July 30, and will be free for two weeks. The DLC is currently awaiting final approval from Microso...
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Bethesda confirms Brink site hacked, personal info risked


Jun 13
// Jim Sterling
Bethesda has confirmed that sites connected to the recently released Brink have been hacked into and that personal info has been compromised. No financial data was stores on them, so you only have to worry about your emails a...
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Brink's Agents of Change DLC detailed (loads of stuff!)


May 28
// Jim Sterling
Bethesda has published details concerning Brink's first batch of downloadable content. We knew the first DLC would be free, so some people expected a few crappy costumes. Prepare to be surprised! The Agents of Change pack fea...
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Brink patched for PC, fixes sound, fonts, servers


May 24
// Jim Sterling
Another patch for the PC version of Brink has arrived, fixing up issues with sound as well as a few cosmetic issues and general performance flaws.  By all accounts, the PC version is looking like the best of the lot, wit...
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Have a PS3 Brink patch to go with your PSN restoration


May 16
// Jim Sterling
Splash Damage has celebrated the return of the PlayStation Network by releasing a lovely patch for your copy of Brink. I'm sure all thirty PS3 Brink players will be thrilled with the news.  The fix is, essentially, the s...
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First downloadable content for Brink will be free


May 13
// Jordan Devore
In a move that could very likely be a glimpse of things to come for this industry, Splash Damage and Bethesda are going to put out the first Brink downloadable content for free. This is their way of showing "appreciation for ...
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Splash Damage tells us what's been fixed in Brink


May 12
// Jim Sterling
Splash Damage has detailed the various updates that Brink has received since it launched on Tuesday, discussing the patches released for all three versions of the game.  On the Xbox 360, the launch patch has improved tex...

Review: Brink

May 09 // Jim Sterling
Brink (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Publisher: BethesdaDeveloper: Splash DamageReleased: May 10, 2011Price: $59.99 In many ways, Brink is an amalgamation of concepts from a variety of first-person shooters, but not the ones that usually get copied. There's first-person parkour lifted from Mirror's Edge; class-dependent, teamwork-heavy combat from Team Fortress; and campaign-based multiplayer from Left 4 Dead. Brink is a very familiar game, but in a way that feels uniquely refreshing.  Set aboard the Ark, Splash Damage's colorful FPS presents a civil war between the Security and the Resistance, two forces with very different ideas on how to survive in a future Earth that's been largely flooded. Cutscenes before and after each mission vaguely piece together the story of this struggle, although the only real way to get into the narrative is to listen to the huge amount of audio logs that unlock as you progress.  You may be fooled into thinking otherwise, but Brink has no true single-player feature. Its "Campaign" mode is a series of multiplayer matches that can simply be played offline against an incongruously oppressive AI. Even worse, the ally AI has apparently been scaled back, and never seem able to win against the enemy. In fact, Splash Damage's campaign is so flimsy that you can even set it to "Versus," which will allow other players to join and effectively turn it into an exact replica of the online mode. The campaign shouldn't even exist, it's so close to being an illusion.  Make no mistake, this is an online shooter through-and-through, and should be treated solely as such. Fortunately, it's one of the most rewarding online shooters you could ever hope to play, albeit one full of questionable -- sometimes outright bad -- design decisions.  Brink is all about customization. With hundreds of costume pieces to unlock and thousands of ways to combine them, players can create a stunning amount of diverse warriors. The character creator is simple, but boasts just enough choice to ensure that identical characters are statistically difficult to encounter. You'll be able to pick facial types, masks, hats, jackets, shirts, pants and color schemes, as well as three different body types -- light, normal and heavy -- that have slightly different play styles.  The combat is objective-based, and objectives rely on classes. There are four classes to select -- the destructive Soldier, the stealthy Operative, the productive Engineer and the healing Medic. Every class has its own set of abilities that can be unlocked using points earned with Rank increases. For example, the Engineer can earn increasingly powerful weapon turrets, while the Medic has access to different types of buffs -- such as increased speed and invincibility -- that can be bestowed upon teammates.  Classes can be switched at any time from Command Posts in-game, and sometimes this will be crucial to create an effective team. Objectives always need various classes to complete them, such as computers that must be hacked by Operatives or obstacles that require a Soldier to detonate them. Brink certainly has some great game types with a welcome focus on balanced teamwork. However, the game manages to stomp on this achievement by presenting the great gameplay in a way that could only be described as abnormal. As stated earlier, the online matches of Brink are indistinguishable from the campaign, in a manner lifted directly from Left 4 Dead. What this means is that while one team has a distinct set of objectives in any given match, the opposing team's goal is usually very simple -- stop the enemy. While this is not a problem inherently, the game's incredibly questionable map design and outright broken objectives completely screw it up.  For example, there's one map where the Security have to escort a robot to a particular area. The robot, however, always passes through a choke point on the map with a convenient machine gun nest situated close to the Resistance's spawn area. What invariably happens is that the majority of the match ends up stuck at this choke point. There are several maps with similar situations, some of which even reward the opposing team as one side gains the upper hand, bringing an objective closer to a spawn area in order to make the mission almost impossible.  Every now and then, there are ways that the oppressed team can fight back, such as using Soldiers to open up shortcuts. Even with these minor advantages, however, there are still some maps that just don't work properly.  While some of the levels have a more even chance of success for either side, I have a feeling there are certain stages that players are going to eventually refuse to play, rage-quitting should they find themselves on the wrong side. Had Brink employed something similar to Killzone 3 -- where objectives constantly shift and are evenly split between teams -- it might have worked. Instead, the game has a totally bizarre flow where even if a team is dominating an enemy and wins two objectives, they can still lose a hard-fought match because they failed the third imbalanced requirement.  This issue is partly mitigated by a "Stopwatch" mode, where teams take turns playing each side and compete to see who wins the fastest, but given the near-impossibility of some of these maps, the mode doesn't offer much except both sides getting embittered, as opposed to just the one.  The true tragedy of this is that Brink is, by and large, utterly brilliant fun. The combat is tight, with impressive balance applied to the game's many weapons and cool first-person parkour elements, which allow players to run frantically around some beautiful environments. The game's objective system, with multiple missions that players can select at will, makes for a game that offers more choice than the average FPS. More importantly, Brink features incredibly fulfilling class-based gameplay that is a pleasure to sink one's teeth into, with every class feeling important, effective, and perfectly tuned to fulfill its role on the battlefield. You earn XP for buffing allies, spotting enemy disguises, and capturing Command Posts. The game even recognizes kills that were earned by a group, rather than awarding all the points to the lucky guy who fired last. You'll earn XP just for shooting at a guy, and the points multiply if you keep the offense going. Brink showers you with experience points from the outset, and ensures that every type of player has a chance to feel like they're useful. If you're not a fan of direct combat, you can heal your friends or capture territory. If you want to charge into the fray, you can arm yourself with Molotovs and chainguns. Alternately, you could just keep switching classes to efficiently finish the mission. Splash Damage proudly embraces all styles of play with equal gusto, and I have to commend their efforts in this endeavor wholeheartedly. It's a shame (yes, another shame) that this rewarding experience feels all too brief. After only having the game in my possession for four days, I'd already maxed out my character and had nothing further to accomplish with it. Characters max out at rank 20, with no extra bragging ranks or unlocks beyond that. Any XP earned past this point is lost; suddenly, you find that Brink's rewarding embrace has abandoned you and the experience feels slightly hollow. Even the Achievement/Trophy for unlocking rank 20 says, "Time to make a new character," acknowledging that there's nothing further to achieve.  The same is true of the weapons and their attachments, all of which can be unlocked within half an hour after you've played a set of "Challenges" -- little more than glorified tutorials that aren't very fun due to the ludicrously aggressive AI and lack of equalizing support, even in co-op mode. Once the Challenges are beaten and rank 20 is unlocked, there's little else to do unless you fancy re-speccing your character at the cost of ranks or starting again from scratch.  As much as I'm complaining, I want to stress just how much I have adored my time with Brink. Even among my favorite online games, I've not played one so intent on encouraging players to work together, have fun, and feel like they're contributing. My frustration with this game lies within this very brilliance and how it's juxtaposed with bizarre ideas such as grossly imbalanced multiplayer and the imparting of almost all content within the first few hours of play. I love this game, I truly do, but I have a list of agitated questions for the developers as long as my arm.  To return to the positive, it's the little touches that really make this game stand out. The art style's terrific, with a wide variety of clothing and masks that can't help but look cool and a bright, distinct color palette that most modern shooters refuse to use. Even the characters, with their giant noses and sharp chins (they all look like Nosferatu), at least look unlike anything else in a modern videogame, with TimeSplitters providing the closest comparison. The parkour animations, especially the ability to kick enemies over with a well-aimed slide, are satisfying to pull off, even if the controls get a little confused about what you want them to do sometimes, and the range of abilities is staggering. A lot of work has gone into making Brink a cohesive and immersive experience. It's just all got this permeating strain of straight-up bad design running through it.  It's also worth noting that, at the time of writing, there are some issues with online lag. Most of the time it's barely noticeable, but there have been instances where matches were unplayable and I had to come back later. A launch patch is arriving for consoles that should address this, while the PC version boasts dedicated servers.  Brink is a confusing beast. Inspired and engrossing, exasperating and chaotic. Putting my thoughts into words has been difficult, as a series of garbled, guttural noises are what I want to make whenever I try to describe this game. I want to excitedly shout about how happy it makes me, but I can't do so without adding important, overbearing caveats. This is the type of game for which the phrase, "There's always a but," was made. There is always a "but" with Brink, some sort of unusual downside to every bright spot.  Yet this is the online game I may play more than any other this year. It's a love/hate game of the highest degree, and I personally love it too much to hate it, despite understanding and accepting that anyone who does hate it will have every right and reason to do so. 
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Splash Damage has had a decent career working on various id Software properties over the years, but this is the first time that the lads from Bromley (respect) have struck out with an original IP of their own.  Brink has...

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Brink's launch trailer has accents, explosions, parkour


May 09
// Jim Sterling
Brink hits North America tomorrow, and Bethesda's put out a final trailer in anticipation. It bigs up the game's civil war premise, and features loads of shooting and jumping. That's all you need, really.  We've been pl...
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Bethesda breaks down Brink by crazy numbers


May 06
// Jim Sterling
Bethesda has been ramping up the Brink promotion ahead of next week's release, helped along with some insane statistics that the publisher has yanked out of its arse. The numbers are being used to show off how much variety is...
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New Brink video explains a myriad of battlefield tactics


May 05
// Maurice Tan
The final Brink video in its "Get SMART" series explains how command posts, turrets, mines, and disguises can be used for battlefield control. Turrets in particular can be very effective when placed in strategic positions, a...
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Splash Damage addressing common shooter issues with Brink


Mar 01
// Samit Sarkar
I gathered from my conversation with Brink’s lead writer, Edward Stern, that the game’s developers at Splash Damage believe certain problems to be endemic to the shooter genre, and that they’re trying to pro...
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Brink blurs the lines between single- and multiplayer


Mar 01
// Samit Sarkar
Splash Damage’s upcoming first-person shooter, Brink, does away with the traditional videogame dichotomy between solo and multiplayer modes. “We’re used to there being a real difference between single-player...

Preview: Brink

Mar 01 // Samit Sarkar
Brink (PlayStation 3 [previewed], Xbox 360, PC) Developer: Splash Damage Publisher: Bethesda Softworks To be released: May 17, 2011 (NA) / May 20, 2011 (EU, AUS) Brink takes place on The Ark, a floating utopia constructed from genetically engineered white coral that humans built as a refuge from a flooded Earth for 5,000 inhabitants. But ten times as many people now call The Ark home, and amid dwindling resources and overcrowding, two factions have risen up to compete for control of the decaying city: “Security,” which is attempting to maintain order, and “Resistance,” which is fighting to escape. Each force has its own playable campaign, but lead writer Edward Stern promised that the story isn’t as cut and dry as “hero cops versus evil terrorists.” “Both sides think they’re right; that’s just way more involving and engaging than if it’s, like, ‘Well, I’m just evil; I’m born to do evil; that’s all I do. Woke up this morning, going to do some evil,’” he said with a grin. Mentioning the moral ambiguity of Deus Ex as an inspiration, Stern discussed the mission I played, “Dirty Bomb.” If you play it in the Security campaign, your commander tells you that you’re fighting to keep a bio-weapon out of the hands of the Resistance. But as a Resistance fighter, you’re told that the Security side is attempting to steal your medical supplies. “Who are you going to believe? We’re not going to definitively tell you one way or the other,” said Stern, asserting that the story underpinnings of the missions in Brink have a motivational significance aside from the nature of the MacGuffin. Stern told me that one of his “wilder goals” for Brink is that its fiction will sit in players’ minds even when they’re not playing the game. Much of the story is relayed through the environment, which he called “the best narrator we’ve got.” The mission I tried was set in Container City, a slum on The Ark composed of steel girders, sheet metal, and shipping containers. The ragtag shanty town was clearly constructed haphazardly, and sat rusting into the ocean. “You don’t build out of steel, at sea, if you think [what you’re building is] going to last for a long time,” Stern pointed out, saying that the awful conditions in Container City effectively communicate to the player why the Resistance is so damn desperate to leave The Ark. Unlockable audio diaries provide more story details. Of course, some people just want to jump in and start shooting dudes in the face, so all of the story is optional. Brink is an overwhelming game at first; even aside from its frantic 8-on-8 pace, its interface is extremely busy -- it beams so much data at your eyeballs with text, icons, bars, and gauges that you’ll feel like you’re staring straight into The Matrix. But it’s a testament to Splash Damage’s elegant HUD design that I was able to pick up on everything pretty quickly, whether it was the small circles indicating remaining rounds in a clip and remaining time in a reloading animation, or my teammates’ health bars. Splash Damage has done a wonderful job of communicating tasks to players through the game’s objective wheel. At any time, you can hold up on the D-pad to bring up a round menu with the current objectives taking up “slices” of the pie depending on how pressing the tasks are (the wheel changes constantly). Even easier, you can just tap up, and the game will automatically direct you toward the most important objective with an on-screen indicator (and distance measurement). Thanks to this setup, I never found myself unclear on what to do next. I stuck with the Medic class for most of my playtime, although I did spend some time as an Engineer. The Medic can buff other players’ health (as well as his own), and he also has the ability to revive incapacitated teammates. I really liked the revive mechanic in Brink. In games such as Battlefield: Bad Company 2, one of my favorite online shooters, stupid medics will often revive a player in the middle of a firefight, whereas the guy just wanted to respawn. As a Medic in Brink, you’ll toss a revive syringe to a downed comrade, and he can decide whether to revive himself or respawn. (Medics can eventually unlock an upgrade that allows them to revive themselves.) Soldiers carry high-explosive charges for demolition objectives, and they can supply their teammates with ammunition. Engineers can plant mines (and later, set up turrets), and they can also disarm mines as well as HE charges. In addition, they can boost other players’ weapon damage. By far the most intriguing and intimidating class is the Operative, who -- like the Spy in Team Fortress 2 -- can disguise himself as a fallen enemy and complete hacking objectives. That’s just the start of the customization that Brink offers. You can unlock abilities -- some class-specific, some universal -- that give you extra skills. They include extra mines, scavenging ammo off of dead bodies, an EMP grenade that slows down the timer on charges, and an Operative-only sticky bomb. You can only bring three abilities into battle with you. In addition, you can choose from three body types (light, normal, heavy). Light bodies have the least health, but with the “S.M.A.R.T.” parkour movement system, they can clamber up levels in ways that normal and heavy players simply don’t have access to. Finally, the game includes a wealth of cosmetic options, such as tattoos and headgear. If you find a combination that you like, you can save it in one of eight character slots. The customization means that you can literally play Brink however you want. Stern suggested that I play as a Medic, and then gave me a challenge: play for five minutes without firing a single shot; just go around healing and reviving your teammates. The game doles out XP like it’s the end of the world -- and I guess on The Ark, it kinda is -- so you receive experience for pretty much everything you do, whether it’s healing your teammates, supplying comrades with ammo, or even just being near an objective. “I mean, it’s called a shooter; how much of your time do you actually spend shooting? We wanted to make it so that there’s lots you can do, even when you’re not pulling the trigger,” said Stern. In fact, Brink emphasizes XP over the standard statistics that are measured in shooters. The scoreboard at the end of a round lists XP, but doesn’t even mention kill/death ratio (Stern assured me that the game tracks that data, but explained that the focus here is on teamwork, not individual performance). “It’s cool to be James Bond,” acknowledged Stern, but “it’s also really cool to be the guy who revived James Bond with a second to go.” Many of the players in the matches I played were AI-controlled bots, but I was hard-pressed to tell the difference. My teammates acquitted themselves admirably in combat, completing objectives and controlling choke points. (This is vital, for reasons I will explore in a separate post.) I did see a few instances of bots getting caught on level geometry and running in pace, but Stern explained that I was playing a beta version, and that the team is still ironing out the kinks. Bots or not, I found that I was able to earn gobs of experience points -- and have a lot of fun -- just by supporting my team as a Medic, just as Stern had proposed; I died only a few times, since I was able to heal and revive myself. (You have “ammo” for your health buff; it recharges over time.) If Medic doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can switch classes in the middle of a round at stations placed throughout maps. I dabbled as an Engineer for some time, still mostly supporting my team by building staircases and dealing out damage buffs, and enjoyed that role as well. Brink truly looks to have something for everyone; which class will you play?
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Brink, the upcoming first-person shooter from Enemy Territory developer Splash Damage, is bringing a novel approach to a crowded market. It incorporates elements from a variety of popular genres, but does so in a way that mak...

The history of Splash Damage

Oct 08 // Hollie Bennett
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[Editors note: Despite how hard cameraman and tech-guy Roy Malcomber tried we had several technology fails and apologise for sound quality]. Brink has a huge presence at Eurogamer Expo in London this...


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