This week in games: The Who embrace VR, Homeworld gets remastered, and more

The Who in VR

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It's the end of January, which means I've finally stopped accidentally writing " 2014 2015" on everything.

To celebrate this most minor of successes, here's a huge heap of gaming news to round out the month: Disney's making a new TV show about a "professional e-sports player" that nine out of ten doctors recommend never watching, David Cage's magnum opus of brilliance/stupidity Fahrenheit gets an HD update, and The Who continue pretending "I hope I die before I get old" was not a particularly ironic lyric to pen.

Thin blue (hard) line

We finally got dates for that Battlefield: Hardline "beta": February 3-8. The beta's entirely open, so all you need is an Origin account to participate.

The art of not making war

I enjoy strategy games, but I'm a sucker for non-violent win conditions. In fact, I rarely find leading an army the most interesting bit of playing Civilization/Crusader Kings II/Europa Universalis IV/Endless Legend/et cetera.

As if they heard my prayers, two developers showed off strategy games this week focused on non-violence.

First up is Civilization IV designer Soren Johnson. His studio, Mohawk Games, debuted a trailer for Offworld Trading Company this week, which is branded as an "economic RTS." There aren't even units. Your goal is to buy out everyone else's stock.

And then there's Rod Humble's (Sims 2 and 3, Linden Labs) new game Cults & Daggers, which according to the press release is "a sprawling and complex strategy game set in the Hellenistic era between the death of Buddha and the birth of Christ." Your goal? To convert people to your new religion. It's coming out in February, so there's not long to wait. Trailer:


Grim Fandango wasn't the only remaster released this week—an updated version of Quantic Dream's "classic" Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy also hit Steam.

Should you play it? Let me put it this way: Play the opening two hours. The game opens with a scene in a diner that is quite literally one of the most brilliant sequences in gaming history, even by today's standards.

Stop as soon as you hit a point where you think, "Wow, this story seems like it's going off the rails." Just stop. Please just stop. I know it's tempting to finish games. I know that's the only way to feel like you can remove it from your backlog. But I promise you, nothing but pain lies in seeing Fahrenheit's dumb-as-rocks story to its grating, craptastic end.

You can go home again

Apparently 'tis the season to remaster every single game ever made. To that end, Gearbox revamped Homeworld and Homeworld 2 and is selling both classic RTS games as a single package starting February 25.

Here's Gearbox's description:

"Crafted with the assistance and guidance of the original creators as well as the help of a passionate fan community, Homeworld Remastered Collection introduces Relic's acclaimed space strategy games Homeworld and Homeworld 2 to modern players and operating systems using modern advances in graphics rendering technology. Homeworld Remastered Collection includes updated high-res textures and models, new graphical effects, and support for HD, UHD, and 4K resolutions. Homeworld’s original audio and video artists have also recreated cinematic scenes in beautiful high fidelity."

And a trailer:

Battle back

Listen: I know that if Battlefield 4 is any indication, Star Wars: Battlefront only has something like a fifty percent chance of being any good when it releases. And I know it only has a twenty-or-so percent chance of living up to what I want out of this long-awaited Battlefront sequel.

Damn if I won't suck up every tiny bit scrap of information about it though. This is one of the few titles I'm really hyped about this year. I've been waiting for this game for a decade.

All that being said, here's some concept art IGN posted:


Imitation as flattery

I've seen quite a few comparisons of Grand Theft Auto V locations to real life, but this post over at GTAist is one of the cooler ones. You can slide back and forth between GTA's graphics and the author's real-world shots, and while they're not all perfect some—especially the ones at the Santa Monica Pier—are fantastic. Here's a (static, non-slideable) example:

Grand Theft Auto V vs Real Life

Head over to the site for fully-slideable shots.


Disney is launching a show called The Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything. Apparently it will deal with a teenage e-sports player who is suffering from a thumb injury and must, as a result, attend high school. For the first time.

Seriously. Here's Disney's synopsis:

"Conor (Cameron Boyce), a 15-year-old video game phenom, is forced to attend high school for the first time after a thumb injury sidelines him from the glamorous pro gaming circuit. As a coping mechanism, he begins to visualize life as a video game. He is reunited with his three former gamer friends who he left behind for life on the pro circuit World Tour, and he quickly realizes that restoring his friendships is vital in his quest to 'level up' to his former glory."

Can somebody grab me a tissue? My nose just spontaneously started bleeding.

Who are you?

"Hey, did you hear The Who has a new Oculus Rift demo?"

"The who?"

"Yeah, exactly."

[Cue laughtrack.]

No, but seriously: The Who (i.e. the rock band) have an Oculus Rift DK2-compatible VR app now. The description includes gems like "Starting at the gates of The Who world, you'll travel past sights from their 50 years, before steering into the Marquee Club, past a Soho Doorway, isolate parts of 'Who Are You' and burst into the stadium with the bone chilling screams of Daltrey’s 'Won't Get Fooled Again.'"

Bone. Chilling.

VRFocus has the full story, or you can go here to download the app as it currently stands.

Up for whatever

Mmm, look at all this free advertising Bud Light is getting because of that rad Pac-Man commercial it's putting out. Here's four minutes of behind-the-scenes Bud Lighting, if you're interested in the tech behind the Super Bowl ad "airing this Sunday"/already available on the Internet.

More reading

And yes, I know it's the most amazing primary art you've ever borne witness to. Base image came from here. Paint-quality photo chop done by me.

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