Two Free PC Games Are Up For Grabs Right Now [Update]

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Now Playing: Video Review - Company of Heroes 2

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There have been a number of opportunities to pick up some free PC games recently, and that's again the case right now. Steam and the Humble Store are each giving away a freebie right now, one of which is particularly excellent. [Update: One of the free games has now expired, but there's still time left for the other.]

On the Humble Store, you can claim a free copy of Company of Heroes 2. Relic's World War II strategy game is now more than four years old, but it remains one of the genre's best. Although it did not expand on its predecessor in the way many hoped, it's nonetheless a solid game. Even all these years later, it remains extremely satisfying to dispatch foes by destroying the ice underneath them, causing them to sink. You can grab it here until 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET on Saturday, December 16. As is often the case with Humble games, this will get you a key to redeem on Steam.

You have less time to grab the other new freebie. Steam itself is giving away Homefront, the first-person shooter that images a version of the United States that's been occupied by North Korea. It's possible that you claimed a free version of this recently, as Humble gave it away just last week. Steam's offer runs for only one day, expiring at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET on Friday, December 15. Grab it here.

While both of these offers are new to their respective stores, they aren't your only chance to claim a game completely for free. Following a promotion during the first half of the month, Ubisoft is now giving away Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag for a limited time.

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Avatar image for reavern

It's annoying when you already own these free games. It be better if they provided a wider assortment of free games and the promotion allowed us to choose one. That would allow more gamers to participate and benefit from the promotion.

Avatar image for lorddaggeroff

I don't even have internet and yet still signed up for this deal.

It's the successor to command and conquer on roids.

Avatar image for phili878

gamespot video player....

Ad. 5,4,3, ..... stuck on 3..... Video never showed.

Sigh.... even the local school news paper run by 12 year olds know how to upload a video and make it work. If you want to force us to watch videos, at least make them work.

Avatar image for lorddaggeroff

@phili878: Shame on you your so mean, now gamespot listen to this person they maybe onto something.

Avatar image for hmloxus

Assassin's Creed IV : Black Flag is free on Uplay until December 18th 10:00 UTC

Avatar image for m_nay2008

Thanks for the Heads-up!!

Avatar image for PinchySkree

The damage Sega did to the Company of Heroes series is irreversible at this point.

Avatar image for ghost140

Not as good as the first one but still good and ya cant beat free. That said steam can keep Homefront.

Avatar image for banhammer

grabbed all of them including black flag ....also bought doom and fallout 4 goty for 30 total.....good gaming folks

Avatar image for banhammer

@sellingthings: will do, fallout 4 while not as great as some previous ones is in its own right a masterpiece lol

Avatar image for p1p3dream

@sellingthings: I find that endings just in general are pretty disappointing in games. I suppose it has to do with the medium. I was reading an interview with some game writers, and it was pretty interesting to hear a bit on the inside. They were saying that video games were probably one of the hardest mediums to write for because of the fact games are interactive. Game writing ends up being more like sketching a picture, than actually painting a detailed picture... They were saying that they basically just had to write things that connected each gamplay element to the next, and that it couldn't be too detailed or rigid. So this is why the games with better storys and narratives tend to be the games that are more linear and scripted, and a lot of times have less freedom in gameplay.

Having said that, one of my favorite endings for a game so far was Assassins Creed: Origins. I thought it was actually pretty cool :)

Avatar image for lakitel

@p1p3dream: That's just a sign of a bad writer, or somebody who doesn't specialize in video game writing. This is why the field that occupies this space is called narrative design. As a game 'writer' you have to account for the player's actions and interaction with the world.

This is the main problem with games that have terrible stories. Most writers come from film or media, and they have full control of pacing, while in games, the player controls the pacing. Part of becoming a good video game writer is being able to set the pace, even though the player can easily **** it up :P

Avatar image for p1p3dream

@lakitel: I don't completely disagree with you at all, I think that gaming is not the medium that perhaps attracts the strongest writers. But I also think you might be simplifying the development process unrealistically. There is great challenge inherent in the process, regardless of your skill level. Very often the narrative for a game is being written as the same time the game is being developed, sometimes the story and narrative is in a completed state before development begins, and there are times when gameplay mechanics have been developed first, and a writer has to come in and adapt a narrative to work with the already existing gameplay loops. All of these examples have their own specific challenges. Game development tends to be a fairly fluid process, features are added, features are taken away, there are all kinds of reasons why revisions need to happen in an ongoing project. And of course, everything effects each other, and the original writer, or a new writer is needed to come in to make adjustments to try and adapt and revise the existing narrative to game design. So in a lot of these examples, you could have the GREATEST writer, but to no fault of her own, the narrative might be really weakened or tweaked so much as to not make much sense.

Avatar image for lakitel

@p1p3dream: Oh absolutely. Looking back at what I wrote, I can see how I've placed the whole blame on the writer, but I know that isn't the case. I've pretty much fallen into every single example you've mentioned, including one game where I fell into all of them:

The director wanted me to make a 3 act play with a prologue that is the same length as an act, which isn't how writing/pacing works. So I had to create an extended 3 act play, and make the prologue the first act (without saying anything XD). Then, after I had written everything but the last act, the director asked me to write a completely different act than was planned because they couldn't get a central mechanic of that act to work (which I warned them about from the beginning). Edit: Oh, and I had to do all this while still staying within the deadline, making sure that I used previous assets effectively so I don't add to the load of the level designers, and making some kind of mixture of previous mechanics that made the last act interesting gameplay wise.

All that being said though, I do think that writers within the industry tend to approach writing for games as if they're writing for film or book. It doesn't help that most studios require some experience of scriptwriting, which is great for smaller linear games, but not so great for big sandbox games with complex choice and dialogue trees. I think the main issue is that there is no real established 'best practices' when it comes to writing for games, at least in comparison to film and book.

But, to give credit to other writers, I do know how sometimes executive decisions can override good sense. I just wish studios and game directors didn't treat the writing as the most expendable part of the dev process. "Hey, you can't get your mechanic to work? Figure it out. You do your part, I do mine."

Avatar image for p1p3dream

@lakitel: Haha, I'm so glad you understood what I was talking about. I was a little tired and loopy earlier and was worried I didn't articulate my thoughts clearly enough. Haha, I'm so glad you understood what I was talking about. But yes, you get it. And of course now I also understand why you have such a opinions as you do, being a writer. I can totally relate to your story though. I was a commercial designer for years, and designing for clients who didn't have a clear understanding of the design process, what was realistic, or even exactly what they wanted, was a similar experience to your story.

I would be bold and say though, I think that you and I still have it easier than the interactive media writer- just because when you think about it, there can potentially be a LOT of people involved... You're coordinating with level designers, scenario designers, perhaps animation designers, because your narrative may require the character to do a new animation loop that hasn't been designed yet. Wow, before this conversation with you, I've never really thought out just how complicated writing for video games / interactive media can be. I feel like I may have been a little unreasonable in the past with my own comments on game writing.

I really don't feel like I can accurately generalize about writers in the industry, I only personally know two people who've written for games, but I would say I consider both of them extremely bright. I've done some work for Ninja Theory, and at the time they were developing a game for the PS3 called "Heavenly Sword" and ended up befriending the writer, Rihanna Pratchet. I consider myself a feminist, and I'm probably a bit too outspoken on it, but I was really drawn to her work. A lot of her work has very strong, multi-faceted, beautiful women at the center- we need more talented female writers/developers thats for sure. Anyway, if there is one thing I've learned in my time with games, is that at the speed that technology moves, every project is unique, with its one unique problems and challenges and methods. Whether you like or don't like Heavenly Sword, I think Rihanna was really successful in seeing her writing take shape as it was intended and result in a respectable cohesive experience. I don't know exactly what her technique is, but I do know she has experience with games, and been sucessfu. She wrote story's for Overlord, Mirrors Edge, Risen, BIo Shock (Infinite), and cementing her as my personal hero, Tomb Raider, and Rise of the Tomb Raider. A lot of those games are incredibly cinematic experiences, but I don't think that they suffer for it. I know she had complaints about working on Tomb Raider, and that there was definitely narrative she wrote that was pulled or changed to suit gameplay sequences.

I've taken some development classes- I did one on Game interface design, and another on Game Design Theory. I'm looking over my textbooks right now, and I think that you're probably right there isn't really a general concensus of best practices on narrative type stuff, I think that developers keep these kinds of things close and they don't really perfer to open up publically about their techniques. I'm mentally picturing a certain Naughty Dog Logo right now when I say that. Anyway, This has turned into quite a ramble- I apologize... but I've enjoyed talking about this stuff with you!

Avatar image for banhammer

@sellingthings: the building bothered me, it was fun but my settlements look like the trash....just 4 walls and a generator lmao

Avatar image for Smosh150

Homefront is kind of meh, the potential was really squandered. However CoH2 has developed into a pretty great game, I'm still miffed over not allowing modders to import new models, but certain modders out there have really done a lot with what they have like with Wikinger (Best way to play it imo).

Avatar image for R4gn4r0k

COH2 is one of the best games ever

Avatar image for xantufrog

ooh, grab CoH 2 - that's a good series.