They cheered. Bungie split off from Activision this week, taking control of the Destiny franchise with them, and staff reportedly cheered when the announcement was made. If that doesn’t tell you everything about the Bungie/Activision relationship circa 2019, I’m not sure what else to add.
But I do have some thoughts. You’ll find them below, along with a bevy of other news this week—including a new Metro Exodus story trailer, delays for Tropico 6 and Dead or Alive 6, free Edith Finch and Fallout, Paradox acquiring Prison Architect, and more. It’s been a really busy week.
This is gaming news for January 7 to 11.
Edith Finch, freed
Epic’s still giving away games to promote the new Epic Games Store, and the latest is a big one: What Remains of Edith Finch, a.k.a. our 2017 PCWorld Game of the Year. Telling the story of the ill-fated Finch family across multiple generations, it’s one of the most creative games of the past decade. Saying more would ruin the experience, and given the fact it’s free? You really have no excuse not to try it at this point.
You can also get A Story About My Uncle for free if you sign up for Humble’s newsletter by 1 p.m. Eastern on Saturday.
A new hope
That bit of bookkeeping out of the way, let’s jump to the week’s biggest news: Bungie and Activision’s divorce proceedings.
We loved Destiny 2’s Forsaken expansion last fall, but Activision was apparently less keen on it—particularly its sales numbers, which were lower than expected. Blame it on Destiny 2’s weak first year, blame it on Forsaken doubling down on the hardcore audience, either way it was clear Activision and Bungie’s relationship was souring. Worse, it seemed like Bungie and Activision had different, competing views for where the series should go next.
Now that impasse is coming to an end, in probably the best way possible for Destiny fans. Bungie finds itself free from Activision, and with full ownership of Destiny to boot. That’s a marked change from Bungie’s last split, which saw Microsoft retaining ownership of Halo for all eternity. The Destiny 2 road map remains unchanged as well, and I’m half convinced the transition to smaller and less story-centric expansions for year two was made in anticipation of this split.
The question is what Bungie does next. A game of Destiny’s size takes lots and lots of money to make, and I doubt that’s a safe bet for an independent developer, even one of Bungie’s size. Bungie says it’ll self-publish but, like IO and Hitman, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bungie ends up with another publisher soon. But which? There aren’t many options these days.
In any case, best of luck to Bungie. I’m interested in seeing what Destiny 2 becomes, sans Activision’s influence.
Train in vain
On to lighter news! Metro Exodus is about a month away from release, and there’s a new story trailer this week showcasing its various non-metro environments, weird mutant animals, and the kickass coal-fired train that will carry you to these lush locales.
Architecting a new future
This is the opposite of the Bungie situation this week. A game that had no PC publisher, Prison Architect, was sold this week to a publisher, Paradox Interactive, because the original developer was just...done with it. Introversion’s Mark Morris said to Eurogamer, “We’ve been building and managing this building-and-management game for nearly a decade. I think we’ve taken Prison Architect just about as far as we can.”
And so, they sold it. Fans don’t seem to have taken too kindly to the news, anticipating a host of Prison Architect DLC in the near future, but I’m nevertheless curious to see what Paradox does—not just with Prison Architect, but the entire concept. As part of the sale, Paradox said it’s looking “to explore opportunities with the wider ‘Architect’ IP in the future,” which sounds like it has the potential to be a modern day Sim[Blank] or [Blank] Tycoon label.
I’m always down for more themed builder games.
A couple of delays this week, though luckily nothing too dire. First up is Tropico 6, originally due to release at the end of January. It’s now been pushed back to March 29. The delay announcement comes courtesy of Kalypso’s Simon Hellwig, who wrote “Over the holidays, I have played Tropico 6 for many hours and really liked what I saw. But, in my humble opinion, it is not enough to like a game—I want to love it! And Tropico 6 is good, but not very good, or outstanding. Yet.” It’s hard to believe they’ll be able to make any substantial changes with just a two-month delay, but...we’ll see, I guess.
Then there’s Dead or Alive 6. This delay is more understandable as DoA6 was originally supposed to release February 15, a.k.a. the same day as Far Cry: New Dawn, Metro Exodus, and Crackdown 3. That’s enough to make DoA dead on arrival, so while Team Ninja says the delay is for balance and polish reasons I think it’s likely a tactical move as well. DoA6 is now due on March 1.
It’s the dead of winter, you’re scrounging for supplies to keep you and your friends alive, and you’re running out of time for rescue. Also, one or more of your friends are traitors, determined to kill the rest and leave your corpses in the snow. That’s the gist of Project Winter, a very boring name for a game that sounds interesting, combining the stealth-multiplayer aspects of something like SpyParty or Murderous Pursuits with modern survival mechanics.
My only qualm is that it’s an eight-person multiplayer game. Given how quickly the multiplayer populations fall off on these sorts of games...you’d better pick it up at launch or not at all, probably.
Outcast, no more
THQ Nordic is starting 2019 at a run, continuing the acquisition streak it’s been on for the past few years. This time around it’s purchased the rights to Outcast, the open-world adventure game released way back in 1999—and apparently remade as Outcast: Second Contact in 2017. Given the remake just happened I assume this was purchased with intent to make a sequel, but Outcast is pretty niche by 2019 standards. I’m not wholly sure what THQ’s planning to do with all these games it’s acquiring, to be honest.
Crawl out through the Fallouts
And lastly, a bit of Fallout news. This actually was announced in December but I missed it: Anyone who played Fallout 76 in 2018 gets copies of Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics for free. You’ll find your copies in the Bethesda.net launcher. Click the arrow in the top-left to show the list of every Bethesda game (not just the featured ones in the sidebar), and then you’ll find the three classic Fallouts somewhere in that list, ready to install.
It might not be the most alluring giveaway for longtime Fallout fans, as I assume many of them owned these games already—maybe even for free, since GOG.com gave away copies of all three a few years back. But hey, it’s free games and a bit of good Fallout news. Cheers, Bethesda. (Via PC Gamer)