It’s hard to imagine any news this week competing with Valve making a new Half-Life game. I don’t really know why you’d even try, actually.
But some unlucky developers did try, so we’ve done our due diligence and rounded up the news of the week. Anthem’s coming back from the dead, Larian’s turned Divinity: Original Sin into a board game, Grinding Gear announces sequel(ish) Path of Exile 2, Black Friday sales kick off a week early, and more.
This is gaming news for November 18 to 22.
Free the North
Per usual, we start with the freebies. It’s another one-game week from Epic, this time the miniature Viking-themed strategy game Bad North. I really love the look of this one, and it’s a neat lil’ spin on real-time strategy. Next week’s an all-time favorite of mine though, the fantastic platformer Rayman Legends, so look forward to that.
Humble’s also giving away a game, though only until Sunday. Serial Cleaner, in which you clean up after a Hotline Miami-esque massacre, is free if you sign up for Humble’s newsletter.
And while those are the only permanent giveaways, it’s worth noting that Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is free for the weekend if you like to bathe in the blood of rats. Reception for this brawler seems less positive nowadays than it was at release, but hey, might as well try it for yourself.
It’s also the start of everyone’s fall sales, a week earlier than expected. The Epic Games Store started its Black Friday sale, taking $10 to $20 off Red Dead Redemption II, The Outer Worlds, Metro Exodus, and more. A lot of great games showed up only on Epic’s storefront this year, so it’s probably worth a peruse.
Humble’s running a sale as well. Prices match Epic’s where applicable, but Humble’s got a wider range of games as well. You can pick up Civilization VI’s latest expansion for 40 percent off, Planet Coaster for 70 percent off, and so forth.
Path of Exile 2
We are officially in the era of the non-sequel. Slap a “2” on the end for branding purposes and let’s go, I guess. First, it was Overwatch 2 and its shared multiplayer. Now, Grinding Gear’s announced Path of Exile 2. It features a new seven-act story set 20 years after the events of the current game, and will force you to start leveling a character from scratch. Aside from that it’s structured more like a (very) large expansion though. The tagline is “One game, two campaigns.” Can’t get much clearer than that.
Still, as someone who’s fallen off Path of Exile despite its greatness, it’ll be nice to have a clean point of entry again.
While we’re celebrating Half-Life: Alyx, let’s go ahead and mourn In the Valley of Gods. It’s only conjecture at the moment, but it looks like Campo Santo’s Firewatch follow-up might be dead. And that makes sense, right? While I’d hoped Valve bought Campo Santo and would leave well enough alone, I get the feeling most of that team is probably involved in Alyx in some way. Maybe not! Maybe it’ll release some day. And I hope so, because that initial reveal trailer was great.
You know what’s not canceled? Definitely, definitely not canceled? Dead Island 2. Sure, it’s been like four or five years since we first (and last) got hands-on time with it, and it’s been through four developers and counting. But Deep Silver CEO Klemens Kundratitz reiterated to Gamesindustry.biz this week that, “We’re really confident that when it comes out it’s going to be a kick-ass zombie game.”
We’re going to see a Half-Life sequel before a Dead Island sequel. I never would’ve guessed.
Loot box lockout
The last paid loot box systems are being quietly killed off. Rocket League, having added a crates-and-keys system post-release, is phasing it out in favor of the Item Shop. Psyonix detailed the new storefront this week, including a rather strange bit that “Following next month’s update, all Premium DLC packs will no longer be available for purchase.” Apparently you won’t be able to just buy the DeLorean through Steam anymore, you’ll have to wait for it to maaaaybe show up in the in-game Item Shop. Ugh.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is also ditching its crate-and-key system on December 18. You’ll still get crates unfortunately—loot boxes are clinging to life—but the keys are going away. All remaining crates can be opened with the in-game currency. It’s an imperfect solution for an imperfect system, but an improvement on paying for pulls at the slot machine at least.
Street Fighter V, finished
Never one to shy away from multiple editions of the same game, Street Fighter V is set to release its third iteration in February. Subtitled Champion Edition, Capcom’s basically bundled up 2018’s Arcade Edition and all the DLC that came afterward into one big package. It’s a bit cheaper as well, listed at $30—though that’s unlikely to placate the people who bought Arcade Edition, given they’ll have to pay $25 to upgrade. Only a $5 discount? Oof.
Original Sin 2D
Forget video games. Tabletop is all the rage right now, as evidenced by Paradox’s recent foray into board games. And now Larian’s followed, with Divinity: Original Sin – The Board Game. There are plenty of details on the Kickstarter page, but it’s basically a co-op adaptation that leans heavily on story-driven events and tactical combat. I get my fix of that from Gloomhaven but...well, maybe I need two $120 board games. Maybe.
The campaign’s already funded thrice over, but there’s still a month to go if you want to chip in.
We reviewed Google’s game streaming service Stadia this week and weren’t too impressed. But even 2,000 words weren’t enough to cover the launch trailer, a psychedelic nightmare that culminates in the tagline “Unthink the things you think are things.” I’d like to say it’s the most baffling choice Google’s made with Stadia, but I’d be lying. This is very on-brand.
Oh and hey, while we’re at it: The latest rumors out of CNET point to Amazon launching its own competing game streaming service next year. Get ready for the gold rush.
I was pretty sure Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human was going to release on PC in August. Heavy Rain came in June, Beyond: Two Souls in July, and that seemed enough to indicate a pattern. December 12 is actually the date though, as announced this week. Finally, I can experience David Cage’s thinly veiled robot racism metaphor for myself. Maybe I should rewatch A.I. to prepare.
We end on Anthem news, as is tradition. Turns out, reports of Anthem’s death were a bit premature—by which I mean, BioWare hasn’t completely given up on the game yet. Instead, Kotaku reports that “BioWare and parent company EA have been planning an overhaul of the online shooter...Some call it Anthem 2.0 or Anthem Next.” When will we see it? Probably not for years, yet. But the bar is low and people like a No Man’s Sky-style comeback story. Keep an eye out, I guess.
And stay tuned for the end of the story, where there’s news that “A new Mass Effect game is in very early development at the Edmonton office.” Best of luck to the team that needs to follow up Mass Effect: Andromeda. I hope you can do right by the series.