It’s not often I get excited about Roman numerals, but Larian hooked me this week. Is it Baldur’s Gate III? Even though they said it wasn’t? That it couldn’t be? We’ll find out soon, I’m sure.
That news, plus Iron Maiden sues Ion Maiden, Halo: Reach shows off mouse-and-keyboard shooting, a whole bunch of E3 leaks, and more. This is gaming news for May 27 to 31.
There are two noteworthy game giveaways this weekend. Near and dear to my heart is Obduction, Cyan’s 2016 spiritual successor to Myst. That one’s a hurry-up-and-get-it offering, with GOG giving away copies only through Saturday (June 1) as part of its summer sale. Scroll down and look for the big green “Get it FREE” button.
And then there’s Epic’s latest temptation, part of its ongoing Epic Mega Sale. This week it’s City of Brass, a run-based game with a Prince of Persia meets BioShock aesthetic. The art’s more of a draw than the game itself actually, but hey, it’s free. Can’t beat that. Be sure to grab it before next Thursday, when it’ll be replaced by Kingdom: New Lands.
As expected, the new Call of Duty was announced this week and is indeed subtitled Modern Warfare, no number. It’s a reboot of the series, bringing back characters like Captain Price but telling a different story. The goal seems to be bringing back uncomfortable or emotionally weighty moments like Call of Duty 4’s nuclear blast and Modern Warfare 2’s infamous “No Russian” level, but...well, we’ll see. There’s a trailer below.
More interesting, at least to me, is the death of the map-based season pass. Call of Duty’s been the last remaining holdout for that model, at least as it pertains to competitive online shooters. Battlefield ditched it. Overwatch and Fortnite never had it. Now Activision’s finally following suit. All post-release Modern Warfare maps will be given away for free.
And it won’t have Zombies either. In keeping with this new, “more serious” tone, PlayStation Lifestyle reports that Modern Warfare will ditch that part of the package for the first time in years.
Just before Activision unveiled Call of Duty, its former best friend and now rival Bungie teased its own announcement. There’s not much to say here, except to “Tune in for the reveal of the next chapter of Destiny 2” on June 6 at 10 AM Pacific, presumably on Bungie’s Twitch channel. I’m admittedly excited to see what’s in store, given Bungie’s due to show off the first content it hadn’t already announced when it split from Activision earlier this year. It feels like it could be anything.
A trilogy, but which?
The teases continue with Larian, developer of Divinity: Original Sin. They posted a simple “III” on its website this week, so Divinity: Original Sin III right? You’d think, but you might be wrong. Astute observers downloaded the video and noticed some metadata that indicates Larian might be teasing Baldur’s Gate III instead—despite categorically denying that fact six months ago. Larian cracking a joke? Or a legitimate tease? We’ll find out at E3, I’m sure.
And the teases just keep on coming. I swear, nobody saves anything for E3 anymore. THQ Nordic is apparently announcing a new Darksiders at E3, just a few months after the release of Darksiders III. The news comes by way of the official E3 Coliseum panel lineup, where there’s a Thursday morning Darksiders panel that “will coincide with the E3 2019 unveil of a brand new Darksiders game that takes the franchise in a fresh direction.” So much for that surprise.
I’ll be curious to see what the new direction is, though. Maybe we’ll finally get the four-player co-op game people have been expecting since 2012?
Last one, I swear. Square Enix (or rather Crystal Dynamics) has been working on an Avengers game for what seems like forever, and we’ve never seen it. That’s set to change at E3, as Square’s confirmed a “Worldwide Reveal” during its press conference on Monday, June 10. And that’s not the only game Square’s got, as it announced this week that it’s publishing Techland’s Dying Light II. Should be quite a show—maybe not enough to fill the hole Sony left at that 6PM slot, but close.
Vicky 3 when?
Okay, this one’s not an E3 leak at least. Paradox just put out Imperator: Rome, but it’s already teasing another grand strategy game reveal in October at its annual Paradox Con event—and says explicitly that it’s not Victoria III, so settle down back there. Anyway, Paradox usually trades off its more warfare-based games (like Imperator) with story-driven fare like Stellaris and Crusader Kings II, so hopefully we’ll see something along the lines of the latter this year.
Paradox is also back with one last pre-E3 trailer for Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, confirming the presence of the fan-favorite Malkavian clan in the sequel. That rounds out the clan roster for release, along with the Brujah, Tremere, Toreador, and Ventrue—though Paradox has hinted there will be clans added post-release as well.
Pathfinder, finding a path
I really wanted to love Pathfinder: Kingmaker last year. Isometric RPG? Branching storyline? Complicated character generation? It checked all my boxes. Then I gave it a try and it was an absolute mess. Hopefully second time’s the charm though, as Owlcat’s gearing up to release an Enhanced Edition in June, free for anyone who already owns the original. Perhaps like Wasteland 2 it will fix some of the more egregious flaws?
Halo! On PC!
Halo: Reach testing has been delayed on PC, but we finally got a look at the game this week courtesy of a developer livestream. Dubbed a “Work-in-Progress E3 2019 Demo,” the footage starts around the 10-minute mark below and runs for nearly an hour. It still looks like a game released in 2010, for sure, but I’m excited to play it with a mouse-and-keyboard—and on Steam, for that matter.
Burial at sea
Pouring one out this week for Worlds Adrift, the sky-sailing MMO from Surgeon Simulator developer Bossa. Having never emerged from Early Access, Worlds Adrift is nevertheless shutting down, with Bossa saying it “just hasn’t reached the level of popularity it needs to continue.” I always thought it had a neat look but was waiting for it to reach a full release, so this is disappointing—one more data point proving Early Access is a misnomer at this point. Hopefully this frees up resources for Bossa to experiment some more with smaller games.
Run to the hills
We end this week on Iron Maiden, famed metal band, leveling a lawsuit against 3D Realms over the game Ion Maiden. Apparently Ion Maiden attempted to file for a trademark and received a cease and desist from Iron Maiden, then went ahead with the Ion Maiden title anyway. So uh...yeah, this lawsuit seems pretty unsurprising.
Blabbermouth has the details and there are a bunch of frivolous claims in there, including one that says Ion Maiden resembles Iron Maiden’s generic-looking mobile game Legacy of the Beast. Another argues Ion Maiden’s protagonist Shelly Harrison is based off Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris, which seems implausible given Shelly showed up in the previous game Bombshell as well.
Still, I’d be surprised if at least one claim didsn’t stick. Expect to see a bunch of references to “The game formerly known as Ion Maiden” next year.