This week in games: Half-Life 3 un-confirmed, Oculus braces for a fight with Bethesda

Gaming news for January 9 through 13

Torment: Tides of Numenera
Torment: Tides of Numenera

I don’t know whether we’ll get around to reviewing it, but if you like Picross you should check out Pictopix on Steam. It is about as excellent as Picross games come, and the main reason I’ve been procrastinating writing this news summary this week.

But I finally tore myself away, and here’s what I found: A choose-your-own-adventure Torment: Tides of Numenera trailer, one hell of a Humble Bundle, more info on Mass Effect and Sea of Thieves, and some harsh words between Oculus and Zenimax as their case finally heads to trial.

One thing I definitely did not find: Half-Life 3. And you’re not likely to ever find it either, if Game Informer’s anonymous-and-unverified source is to be believed. That and more, as we round up gaming news for January 9 through 13.

Not-so-humble

Been a while since we’ve written about a Humble Bundle, but the new Overwhelmingly Positive Bundle is worth checking out. All of the games have an “Overwhelmingly Positive” rating on Steam, with Day of the Tentacle, DeadboltPony Island, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, Epic Battle Fantasy 4, and N++ available for $10 total. Considering N++ is normally $15 just on its own, that’s a damn good deal.

Oh, and Humble’s also giving away free copies of racing game DiRT Showdown for about another day or so. Head here to claim your copy.

Torment teaser

We’re about a month out from Torment: Tides of Numenera, but if you just can’t wait a second longer you can try out the game’s new interactive trailer. Narrated by designer Colin McComb, the trailer talks you through one of Torment’s early quests and lets you spool it out to one of multiple conclusions. Pretty cool.

Blitz

When I saw Halo Wars 2 back in October, I wrote that its multiplayer Blitz mode “could trigger an RTS revival.” Why? Because it eschews all the base-building, all the slower parts of an RTS, instead focusing on big battles with lots of troops. Instant gratification, or as I was told by 343’s Dan Ayoub, “We’re taking inspiration from MOBAs and bringing it back into the RTS.”

If that sounds intriguing and you want to give it a shot ahead of launch next month, good news: You can play a Blitz “beta” from January 20 to 30. Just grab it from the Windows 10 Store.

Dishonored 2

Aside from the performance issues, one of the most frustrating aspects about Dishonored 2 was the lack of a mission select—especially in light of the bug on Mission 2 where the game says you killed someone even if you didn’t.

It’s coming though. On January 18 an update will enter beta on the PC, patching in custom difficulty settings (including a permadeath Iron Mode) and “Mission Restart/Select” capabilities. Don’t know why it wasn’t there at launch, but oh well.

A cold night in February

Night in the Woods is going to miss its original January release date, but not by much. Alongside a new trailer comes a new and not-too-far-off release date of February 21.

Mass marketing

After years without a peep, BioWare’s apparently determined to crush us with Mass Effect Andromeda information ahead of launch. This week it’s a look at your ship, the Tempest, plus your all-terrain rover Nomad a.k.a. “The Mako Pt. 2.”

Ver-not-done

These days Verdun may be eclipsed by its bigger-budget buddy Battlefield 1, but the World War I shooter’s not done yet. This week the devs released a free update adding in the Scottish, or the “ladies from hell” as they came to be known during the war.

Busy seas

Rare’s Sea of Thieves is one of my most anticipated releases for 2017, based primarily on the co-op I played at E3 last year—an aspect that’s been hard to describe with only words. Luckily there’s now a video to check out if you want an idea of how your ship and its grog-swilling crew will function:

Scale-bound for cancellation

First unveiled at E3 2013 alongside the Xbox One, Platinum’s dragon-riding Scalebound was officially canceled earlier this week (first reported by Kotaku) following rumors of development troubles. I can’t say I’m too broken up about the game itself, but I hope everything’s okay at Platinum—given that Activision pulled some of the studio’s games from Steam last week, things seem a bit dire.

Zenimax v. Oculus

After what seems like a million years, the Oculus versus Zenimax case (wherein Zenimax alleges that John Carmack appropriated his work at id and brought it to Oculus illicitly) has finally gone to trial down in Dallas, TX. Oculus had some not-so-nice words to say about the trial to UploadVR:

“We’re eager to present our case in court. Oculus and its founders have invested a wealth of time and money in VR because we believe it can fundamentally transform the way people interact and communicate. We’re disappointed that another company is using wasteful litigation to attempt to take credit for technology that it did not have the vision, expertise, or patience to build.”

Ouch. Looking forward to the conclusion of this one.

Another day, another mansion

Resident Evil VII releases later this month (wait, really?) and there’s a creepy new teaser to get you in that ol’ creepy-mansion spirit.

Half-Life 3 un-confirmed

For years now I’ve been saying it’s in Valve’s best interests not to release Half-Life 3. Not only is the studio a weird place where projects seem to come and go at a whim, but no game could live up to the hype Half-Life 3 has accrued. It would almost certainly be a disappointment.

That might not be what fans want to hear, but it’s true.

And now that sentiment has been sort-of confirmed, albeit by way of an unverified Game Informer source who used to work at Valve. From the interview:

“All we know is we love what we had before, but everyone has a different idea of what Half-Life 3 should be. The best thing they could do is give up on Half-Life 3, avoid it entirely, and do Half-Life experiences instead. Experiences that connect, but aren’t the flagship sequel.”

There’s a lot more to unpack, and I suggest reading the full thing for an idea of how Valve operates day-to-day. Just don’t get your hopes up. Half-Life 3 is probably never coming, unsatisfying as that might be to the people who tear apart Valve’s releases for some snippet of code saying otherwise.

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