Another summer over, or at least the boring part of the summer where no games release. Wolfenstein: Youngblood is arguably the start of “fall” this year, and with August kicking off soon we’ll be right back in the thick of it.
But first, the tail end of the tedious July news drought. Destiny 2 starts prepping next week for its huge September expansion, Origin built a PC with three consoles inside it, Arma 3 added aliens, there’s a great behind-the-scenes look at John Wick Hex, and Netflix released the first trailer for The Witcher.
This is gaming news for July 22 to 26.
Big freebies on the horizon
It looks like the Epic Games Store is going to make a habit of giving away two games a week now, not one—and certainly not one every other week, like we started with back in January. You can grab copies of both Moonlighter and This War of Mine this week, free-to-keep. Then next week? Alan Wake and For Honor are up for grabs, which are some pretty high-profile games for Epic to simply give away.
Also noteworthy: Moonlighter and This War of Mine are the first Epic Games Store titles to support cloud saves. Finally.
Wake me up
And Alan Wake’s in the news twice this week, believe it or not. It’s nothing definitive, nor very exciting, but Remedy’s Sam Lake told IGN this week that they’d still like to make an Alan Wake 2 someday—which is presumably easier, now that Remedy owns the rights. Maybe if Control does well enough…
Destiny 2’s fast headed towards its big September expansion, Shadowkeep, and elements of Bungie’s large-scale overhaul are starting to appear. Next up: The “Armor 2.0” system, which is set to give armor more stats and more mod potential when Shadowkeep releases. The annual “Solstice of Heroes” event starts up on July 30 this year, and Bungie’s already confirmed the top-tier armor you earn therein (if you earn it) will be repurposed as Armor 2.0 gear in September.
If Rainbow Six is going to start including zombies, I guess it makes perfect sense for Arma 3 to go for aliens. This week, the (formerly) ultra-realistic military sim released its new Contact DLC, which pits soldiers against an alien invasion. It’s dumb as hell, and I love it. Next, give me Battlefield crossed with Dante’s Inferno—or is that Doom?
PUBG, Season 4
Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is attempting to add an improbable premise to its already-improbable game, as we mentioned last week. Season 4 is ushering in some big gameplay changes as well though, adding new structures and landmarks to the original Erangel map and allowing players to—gasp!— climb up ledges.
Overwatch unveiled Sigma this week—the tenth post-release hero, for a grand total of 31. He’s apparently an “eccentric astrophysicist...unaware he’s been turning into a living weapon,” and Blizzard put together the usual flashy story trailer to introduce him. Of course, all people have focused on (for good reason) is the fact he uh, doesn’t wear shoes.
Defiant ‘til the end
Pour one out this week for Defiant Studios, developer of the Hand of Fate series. A critical darling, the studio is nevertheless shutting down in short order, with a statement on the studio’s Facebook page reading “The Defiant model has always focused on creating games nobody else would...That is a risky way to make games, and we knew that. When it succeeds it delivers things you could never have considered possible. When it fails, it leaves you without a safety net.”
Hopefully everyone affected lands somewhere new and brings that spirit of rule-breaking to other studios. We could use more of it, risky though it may be.
We covered the “important” Origin news this week, in that Corsair purchased them. But we didn’t cover the fun Origin news, which is that to celebrate the company’s tenth anniversary, Origin built the Big O. What, you might ask, is the Big O? Well, it’s a full Origin gaming PC, plus a PlayStation 4 Pro, an Xbox One X, and a Nintendo Switch—all in the same case. It’s stupid and beautiful and I love it.
It’s been seven long years since Thatgamecompany released Journey—almost an entire console generation—but they finally have a new game. Titled Sky: Children of Light, it’s out now!
...But only on iOS. My MacWorld compatriot Leif Johnson has a review (of sorts) for you, provided you’re willing to wade in on a phone. No? Then luckily Thatgamecompany confirmed this week that a PC version is in the works, though they declined to provide a date or even a window for release. Fingers crossed it’s not too far out.
David Cage continued his slow and steady invasion of the PC this week, following up last month’s Heavy Rain PC debut with 2013’s Beyond: Two Souls. Literally all I know about this one is that Willem Dafoe is in it, and judging by the trailer he is in full Norman Osborne mode. Maybe that’s reason enough to play it.
Personally I was hoping the Watch Dogs Legion collector’s edition would come with an old lady mask, or maybe a nicely knit cardigan. Instead, it’s a big ol’ skull decorated with neon stripes and an “LED Crown.”
Mere hours after I finished writing up last week’s news haul, Netflix went from teasing its adaptation of The Witcher to unveiling the first trailer. Yes, we finally got a look at the show in action. Does it still look like Henry Cavill cosplaying as Geralt? Yes. Does it look better than I expected? Slightly—though mostly it looks like Netflix trying desperately to find its own Game of Thrones.
I know gun-fu
Headed the opposite direction, John Wick Hex is busy translating the beloved films into playable form. What does that entail? Apparently, Mike Bithell fighting a bunch of talented (and good-natured) stunt coordinators. It’s one of the most entertaining behind-the-scenes featurettes I’ve seen, for sure.