This week in games: Theme Hospital's spiritual successor, rumors of Fable's return from death

Gaming news for January 15 to 19

Two Point Hospital
Two Point Hospital

Hope you're all enjoying your game backlogs as we continue on through January, the lazy river of months.

This week proves the slow period won't last forever, as we take a look at Q.U.B.E. 2 and Underworld Ascendant, a new Theme Hospital successor, plus the upcoming Civilization VI and Total Warhammer II expansions. Rumor also has it Microsoft's working on a new Fable and there's an Alien shooter coming from Fox (instead of the Alien: Isolation sequel people actually wanted). Lastly, Epic discusses winding down Paragon development to focus on Fortnite, of all things.

This is gaming news for January 15 to 19.

Q.U.B.E. 2

I played a bit of Q.U.B.E. 2 at PAX last year and was admittedly impressed—not so much by the puzzles, which were pretty similar to the original Q.U.B.E., but by the environments. After the minimalist white-walled rooms of the first game, the sequel’s crumbling temple-like structures and lush foliage were jaw-dropping. Think: The jump between Portal and Portal 2, and you’ll start to understand. Or just watch the trailer below for a glimpse of the new look before its “Early 2018” launch.

Start of a new age

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition was originally supposed to release last October, but was delayed a mere five days before release. Sounds like it’s just about ready to go now though, and Microsoft’s given it a new date: February 20. More details here, if you want them.

Down with the sickness

If you have fond memories of 1997’s Theme Hospital, good news: There’s a sequel in the works. Well, spiritual successor really. Sega announced Two Point Hospital this week, and it’s helmed by Lionhead and Bullfrog vets Gary Carr and Mark Webley. Basically, you remember how Lionhead was shut down in 2016? Well, we’re now at the point where some of those people have formed indie studios and have games to show off. Look for Two Point Hospital later in 2018.

Fable…?

Speaking of Lionhead, there’s a rumor this week that Microsoft is making a new Fable game. That’s a bit surprising, as Microsoft canceled off Fable Legends when it closed down Lionhead—and, I thought, basically wrote off Fable entirely. But now Eurogamer reports Forza Horizon developer Playground Games is working on a new Fable, which if true would be a huge departure for the racing-centric studio. Then again...it’s not like Microsoft has a ton of exclusives at this point. Probably can’t afford to lose Fable too.

No longer alone

Well this is disappointing. About a year ago there were rumors Creative Assembly was working on a new Alien: Isolation sequel. Then a few days later those rumors were quashed. And now? Now GamesIndustry.biz reports a new Alien shooter is in the works, courtesy of Fox’s internal games department FoxNext and developer Cold Iron.

More Aliens than Alien in other words. Considering the last Aliens-themed shooter was Aliens: Colonial Marines ...well, let’s just say I’d probably rather have that Isolation sequel.

Rise and fall

The first Civilization VI expansion, Rise and Fall, is set to release on February 8, so I guess it’s time to dig into the new features. This week’s video will help in that endeavor, with six minutes of explanation regarding the new Golden Ages, Dark Ages, and everything in between.

Tomb Kings

Total War: Warhammer II is about to get an expansion too, in the form of the Tomb Kings—probably the most badass name for any faction in the Warhammer universe. This week there’s 11 minutes of Tomb Kings footage showing off the tech trees, army recruitment, and oh yeah enormous army-crushing scorpions.

Through the looking glass

PAX South took place last weekend, although you’d be forgiven for not knowing since nothing notable ever comes from PAX South. Except this year, something did come out of PAX South: This behind-the-scenes peek at Underworld Ascendant.

Mo Ba, Mo Problems

If you’d told me last summer that Fortnite would end up so popular it would all-but-kill off the rest of Epic’s game projects? I probably would’ve laughed. And yet that’s the reality we’re living in, as Fortnite’s free Battle Royale mode continues growing to the detriment of its other titles.

[ Further reading: The best free PC games ]

The latest casualty: Paragon. This week the action-MOBA’s community coordinator Edgar Diaz wrote out a lengthy post on Reddit which cast doubt on the game’s future. From the post:

“While each of these incarnations has been beloved by a core community, none has been large enough to achieve mainstream success. This, combined with the humbling success of Fortnite has caused us to question if we have a good path to grow Paragon and make it thrive...Over the next few weeks, we’ll be figuring out if and how we can evolve Paragon to achieve growth and success, and trying some things internally. In the meantime, Paragon’s release cadence will be slower.”

Proof positive that the era of the MOBA-alike is over. All hail the PUBG-alike. And uh...I guess I won’t hold my breath for an update on Unreal Tournament.

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