The biggest video game news this week is that Valve updated the format for Steam Wishlists—not because I care about Wishlists, but simply because Valve actually updated the Steam interface. Could this be the start of that large-scale overhaul we’ve heard has been coming for like, two years now? One can hope.
In any case, plenty of other news this week too. The Evil Within II now lets you get up-close-and-personal with your monsters, release dates for a slew of games including Where the Water Tastes Like Wine and Warhammer: Vermintide II, a bunch of free-to-try games for your long weekend, and the incredible tale of THQ Nordic slowly reforming the entire THQ library one piece at a time.
This is gaming news for February 12 to 16.
It’s President’s Day in America this coming Monday, and I can only imagine that’s why so many games are free this week—what better way to celebrate freedom, right?
Anyway, a lot of games are free-to-try this weekend, including Overwatch (through February 19) and Rainbow Six Siege (through February 20). Those who had access to the Sea of Thieves beta last month can also spend more time with the game during this weekend’s scale test, which runs through February 18.
And in a more permanent vein, this is the last chance for those who have Amazon Prime/Twitch Prime to pick up a free copy of Civilization IV: Complete Edition (a.k.a. “The Best Civ”)—the offer expires February 21. Head to Twitch and look for the “Prime Loot” crown in the top-right.
Speaking of Rainbow Six Siege, Ubisoft officially unveiled the next group of Operators coming to the game in Operation Chimera. You can check out Lion and Finka in the trailer below:
The Evil Within II was one of last year’s best games, but not necessarily one of the scariest. That might change though. This week Bethesda patched in an official first-person camera mode, so now you can play through the entire adventure from the confines of Sebastian’s viewpoint. All you need to do is dive into the menu and change the camera mode.
I’m not 100 percent sure it’ll make the game scarier, but that’s usually how I feel about first-person versus third-person horror games. Something about not knowing what’s creeping up behind you…
Warhammer: Vermintide was one of 2015’s strangest surprises—a Left 4 Dead-style game in the Warhammer universe and, most amazing of all, it was great. News of a sequel wasn’t too surprising, but it turns out Warhammer: Vermintide II is even closer than I realized: March 8, according to the latest trailer. Hopefully it can recapture the same magic as the original.
Looking for America
Folklore-heavy game Where the Water Tastes Like Winealso received a release date this week, and it’s somehow even closer than Vermintide—February 28, or less than two weeks from now if you can believe it.
Ignorance is Strength
And then there’s Orwell: Ignorance is Strength, the follow-up to 2016’s Orwell. The original had you playing as 1984’s “Big Brother,” or at least Big Brother as reflected by our own society—someone who trawls through news stories, emails, and social media profiles to try and stop terrorists in the making. It was an interesting idea, even if “Our surveillance state is like 1984!” isn’t the most unique of observations.
The sequel looks like it’ll pick up where the last left off, adding in a few new types of surveillance and so on. That’s enough to pique my interest. Ignorance is Strength will debut February 22, with two more episodes releasing on March 8 and March 22.
I haven’t gotten around to playing much of ‘80s-inspired adventure game Crossing Souls yet, but I love the faux-’80s cartoon look everyone’s doing lately, and I’m still happy to highlight it whenever it pops up—like in the Crossing Souls launch trailer. And given this is a Devolver title…maybe the same people who did that rad Strafe trailer did this one too? Looks like the same style there at the end.
Let’s end, as per usual, on this week’s most ridiculous bit of news—and it’s a doozy. Back in 2013 THQ closed down and its assets were sold off to a couple of companies. Gearbox got Homeworld, Sega got Relic and the Warhammer 40K license, Take Two got Evolve, Ubisoft got South Park: The Stick of Truth, and so on.
The majority of THQ went to two companies though: Koch Media/Deep Silver got Saints Row, Metro, and later acquired Homefront from Crytek. The rest, which included Darksiders, plus most of THQ’s back catalog and the actual THQ name, went to Nordic Games, which later rebranded itself to THQ Nordic.
And now, as of this week, THQ Nordic has bought Koch Media—and thus Saints Row, Homefront, and Metro are once again official THQ titles. This industry is wild sometimes. Anyway, sounds like the primary cause here is less-than-stellar sales of Homefront: The Revolution and last year’s Agents of Mayhem. No surprises, but hopefully THQ Nordic can make the transition relatively painless and we’ll see some interesting news out of Volition and Co. soon. I have to imagine a change in management might do Saints Row and the rest some good.
Hayden writes about games for PCWorld and doubles as the resident Zork enthusiast.