This week in games: Morrowind comes to Elder Scrolls Online, Lego invades Arma 3, and more

Gaming news for January 30 to February 3

Operation Blockhead - Arma 3
Arma 3

February already, eh?

This week we’ve got a bunch of successful Kickstarter campaigns, the first Stellaris expansion, Lego modded into Arma 3, the impending death of Denuvo, and Elder Scrolls Online pulling out the nuclear option: A Morrowind expansion.

It’s gaming news for January 30 through February 3.

Weekend downtime

Need something to play this weekend? You’ve got a few free trial options.

First up is Rainbow Six Siege, one of our favorites of 2015 and beyond, which is free-to-try through Steam from now until February 5. The game is also selling for 50 percent off if you want more permanent access.

And on the not-so-finished side of things, there’s Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3. The game releases in April, but it’s hosting an open beta this weekend. Expect two singleplayer missions, as detailed in the trailer below. You can sign up here.

A bit of sunlight

Following our usual tradition, I was going to take this space to write about the Sunless Sky Kickstarter campaign. “Hey, Sunless Sea was great! Get out there and fund a sequel if you want it!”

But like Pillars of Eternity II last week, there’s nothing to even write about. Sunless Sky already hit its goal—four hours after the Kickstarter launched. Give me one or two more successful crowdfunding campaigns and I swear it’ll feel like we’re back in 2013 again. Anyway, the Kickstarter’s still running for another 28 days if you’d like to chip in.

(Oh, and The Banner Saga 3 also hit its Kickstarter goal this week. Congrats, Stoic.)

Stole my heart

Not a week goes by where I don’t wish for more Sea of Thieves footage. Like this week. Here’s eight minutes of in-game footage, including some stellar accordion playing:

Deus Ex-iled

Up until this week, I thought the worst part about Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was that it ended on an out-of-nowhere cliffhanger—purportedly because the game (and its story) was split in half late in development.

Maybe that’s still true. Last we heard, Mankind Divided’s follow-up went into production at Eidos in 2015. But there’s a new rumor flying around this week, from the usually reliable Eurogamer, that Eidos is focused primarily on Tomb Raider and Guardians of the Galaxy, with another small team devoted to The Avengers. And Deus Ex? Reportedly on the back burner.

It might be a looooong time before we see a resolution to that cliffhanger.

Nuclear option

Well, Bethesda finally got desperate enough and did the one thing it knew might get skeptics to play Elder Scrolls Online: Announced a Morrowind expansion. Fine Bethesda. You win. I’ll play your stupid MMO.

Stellar news

Stellaris has released a dozen or so tidbits of content since launch, but Paradox is now gearing up for the game’s first “major” expansion, Utopia. Dyson spheres, ringworlds, and a whole new evolution subsystem seem like good reasons to jump back in. Especially the Dyson spheres.

It's just a teaser for now, but I expect we’ll hear more out of GDC later this month.

Denu-no

The DRM arms race continues. Time was, Denuvo’s anti-piracy software seemed uncrackable. Long-time members of the scene sort of gave up, with cracks often taking months to appear on torrent sites (if they appeared at all).

That seems to be changing though. Last week Resident Evil 7 was cracked within five days of launch—the shortest period yet. If this keeps up, expect to see Denuvo used in fewer games over the next year or so, and inevitably replaced by something else. 

Honorbound

For Honor launches in a little over a week, so if you guessed “It’s time for a Season Pass trailer” on this week’s betting sheet, good news. Six new heroes and six new maps are on the way, post-launch. Also mentioned in this trailer: Ranked and tournament play.

Conspicuously not mentioned: Dedicated servers. Yes, this game that relies on split-second timing is still using P2P connections. Ugh.

In other news, if you want a crack at For Honor’s open beta a.k.a. “marketing demo” it will be available February 9.

”I am not a crook”

The Oculus/ZeniMax lawsuit wrapped up this week. You can read about the fallout here, but in short: Oculus was cleared of most charges, but will pay ZeniMax $500 million for violating an NDA. Both companies issued statements afterward, so expect further appeals, injunctions, and yada yada yada.

But one of the most bizarre aspects came in the middle of ZeniMax’s statement, wherein it said John Carmack—maybe one of the smartest engineers on the planet—“intentionally destroyed data on his computer after he got notice of this litigation and right after he researched on Google how to wipe a hard drive.” [Emphasis mine]

If you just laughed out loud, well, so did a lot of people who saw that accusation on Wednesday. Whether because of the laughter or some other factor, Carmack took to Facebook soon after ZeniMax’s statement to unofficially officially comment on the trial. “I never tried to hide or wipe any evidence, and all of my data is accounted for, contrary to some stories being spread. Being sued sucks,” he wrote.

What an ugly lawsuit.

Conan Exiled

Funcom’s Conan-themed survival game launched this week—a fact you might be aware of because of the buzz around the game’s rather silly genital-size sliders (NSFW). Or you might’ve heard that the servers are a bit of a mess and that the game is a bit “generic survival game” at the moment.

Either way, Funcom’s admittedly got grand ambitions. We’ll see if this one becomes an Early Access success story.

LEGO Arma 3

Great things have come out of the Arma mod scene. DayZ might be the most famous, but there are race courses, an entire role-playing game known as “Altis Life,” and now? Lego.

Posted this week, “Operation Blockhead” adds your favorite blocky soldiers into the game and it looks fantastically stupid. If Lego ever gets tired of churning out licensed games and making millions of dollars, this is absolutely the direction it should go:

Operation Blockhead - Arma 3 Arma 3
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