When you think of what a teenager might like, the first thing that pops into your mind probably isn't history. But for one reason or another, the History Channel was my jam in high school. I loved watching old documentaries about World War II and learning about Rome's dominance of the ancient world. Something about all of the double-crossing and covert operations piqued my interest, which then put me on the hunt for some historical gaming.
World War II shooters were big at the time, but other parts of history were somewhat underrepresented. I liked Age of Empires fine enough, but when Creative Assembly announced Rome: Total War, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. The wait wasn’t helped by the fact that the History Channel was running the show Decisive Battles, a program that utilized the Rome: Total War engine for battle re-enactments. Talk about being a tease.
With my older self being more engaged with Eastern civilization, then, it should come as no surprise that Total War: Three Kingdoms has been on my radar for quite a while. I love the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story, I'm a big fan of Dynasty Warriors, and I've enjoyed the Total War games for roughly 15 years. Of course I was going to be on this.
While not everything in Three Kingdoms is an improvement to the Total War formula, the game does a great job at catering to both ends of the strategy fan spectrum while providing an absolutely amazing historical setting that is perfect for this genre.
Has it really been three years of Overwatch? I forgot to get an anniversary gift, but there's still time to throw something together last-minute and hope it looks heartfelt. Note to self: burn the receipt.
Blizzard is running Overwatch's third-anniversary event from May 21 through June 10 with festivities ranging from a free full-game trial on PC and consoles, new skins like a wicked Gargoyle Winston, and the return of old seasonal goodies. "Past seasonal brawls are returning to the Arcade and will be rotated daily, including those found in Overwatch Archives – Storm Rising," according to Blizzard.
Even if you're on a hiatus right now, it's worth logging in during that time frame – doing so will earn you a loot box containing a guaranteed Legendary cosmetic item. You might not care, but future you will thank you for making the effort. Unless you unbox something dumb. Then future you will be pissed.
Six new Legendary anniversary skins and three new Epic skins are planned. Here's two of 'em.
I need them both very badly, and I'm convinced I won't put in enough time to earn either.
If you're thinking of giving the free trial a shot, heads up that pre-loading is live on PS4 and Xbox One. While the overarching event spills into June, this trial will only be around from May 21 through May 28. It's not too late to get into Overwatch in 2019. Really, it isn't! You might end up loving it.
That said, I'll live vicariously through all the new players. I've fallen off Overwatch and realistically won't hop back on until the next hero arrives, if not later. I still like it to varying degrees, but I'm struggling to keep up, and it's not a problem unique to this game. I'm in a single-player state of mind.
Japanese developer City Connection has announced that they have plans to release an all-new entry in the classic military-based shmup series Strikers. Tentatively titled Strikers 2020, the new title is planned for release on multiple platforms next year, and may even see release in arcades.
For those less inclined, the series began back in the mid '90s with Psikyo's Strikers 1945, which saw WWII aeroplanes kitted out with anime-style laser cannons to take down wave after wave of increasingly bizarre military installations. Strikers 1945 would eventually be followed by a sequel and a couple of revamps.
The Strikers games still hold up today. They're exciting, intense examples of the genre, and a fresh modern take on the series could prove to be something very special, so here's hoping Strikers 2020 captures the frantic gameplay of its namesake when it blasts back into battle next year.
Back in 2014, little known publisher CI Games (alongside of developer Deck13) put out Lords of the Fallen: a clearly Dark Souls-inspired romp with a viking twist. It resonated with a lot of folks, including Dark Souls publisher Bandai Namco, and naturally, plans for a sequel began. But all is not well in CI Games land (which happens to he Poland).
According to Eurogamer, the US-based Defiant Studios was in, and then out. Defiant Studios was tapped to tackle Lords of the Fallen 2, but CI Games has since taken the project back under their wing (note that they scaled down operations early last year to roughly 30 employees). CI Games says it was because of an "inadequate execution" of a vertical slice of Lords of the Fallen 2, but Defiant Studios predictably does not agree with that assessment.
Defending his honor, Defiant Studios lead David Grijns notes that he stands behind his developers, who have been given "key roles" for games like Just Cause 3, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Far Cry 5, and DmC: Devil May Cry. He avoids breaking legal obligations and stops short after stating that they "categorically disagree with [CI Games'] portrayal" of the studio.
We're now in a weird situation where Deck13 is ready to unleash the cool looking Surge sequel out into the world with Focus Home Interactive (which in itself aped Lords of the Fallen with a sci-fi twist) and CI Games is left with a troublesome project.
Mobile battle title Fire Emblem Heroes is once again returning to last year's theme of holy matrimony for its latest update, bringing forth four new hero variants, all adorned in wedding garb and prepped to take a stroll up the aisle.
Nintendo has revealed the quartet in a new trailer, which you can check out below. The roster additions for this event include Path of Radiance' Holy Guard Commanders Tanith and Sigrun, The Blazing Blade's nomadic sage Pent, and finally Fire Emblem Heroes' own princess Fjorm. Don't they all look quite lovely? God, I'm so lonely.
When Game Freak decided it was time to turn Pokémon into a collectathon that not only involved creatures, but human hairstyles and outfits, they struck gold. While we basically knew that the concept of customization was in for Sword & Shield, it was just recently confirmed in a roundabout way.
Japan apparently just held a contest that challenged fans to create a unique Pokemon t-shirt, and the winner (a Magikarp/Gyarados mix) is going on to be immortalized in Sword & Shield. This is the first real confirmation that trainer customization is in (besides the outfits we've seen in the initial trailer reveal). It's a small detail, but it's something all the same.
As for what's next for Sword & Shield, it seems like we'll have to wait until E3. CoroCoro magazine (the main source of drip-fed Pokemon news, which slowly reveals new creatures painstakingly over the course of the year) is publishing news on June 21, directly after E3. We can bet on an info dump during Nintendo's E3 Direct, then a follow-up a week later.
Bethesda's over-the-top shooter sequel Rage 2 has slammed straight into the number one slot of the UK Charts, usurping Sony Bend's adventure title Days Gone, which has held for the past three weeks.
The punk-rock Avalanche release wasn't the only game to make a decent debut, as Focus Home Interactive's brilliant rodent-fest A Plague Tale: Innocence also managed to squeak its way into the Top Ten, debuting at number nine. Warner Bros. Mortal Kombat 11 dropped a couple of places to number four, and it seems that it has missed its opportunity to hit the top spot, (though digital sales for the gory fighter have fared much better.)
"PlayStation Productions" is now in business. Created by Sony executives Asad Qizilbash and Shawn Layden, the concept is to adapt Sony's vast PlayStation catalog for both the TV and film mediums: what could go wrong?
Sony, a media giant in and of itself, is no stranger to cross-media opportunities. The comic Powers was adapted by the company as a way to push original PlayStation Plus programming, which fizzled. They attempted to work in the realm of film with adaptations like 2016's Ratchet & Clank, which bombed at the box office under the watch of Rainmaker Entertainment and several other production firms. Now they're taking matters in their own hands.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Layden justifies the move, stating: "We’ve got 25 years of game development experience and that’s created 25 years of great games, franchises and stories. We feel that now is a good time to look at other media opportunities across streaming or film or television to give our worlds life in another spectrum." Qizilbash backs this up: "Instead of licensing our IP out to studios, we felt the better approach was for us to develop and produce for ourselves." One, because we’re more familiar, but also because we know what the PlayStation community loves."
In theory this is a good move, as the recent success of the Detective Pikachu film shows that fans will show up for and resonate with authenticity. But of course this has the potential to go completely wrong, as we've seen publishers time and time again waffle between the "licensing out, going in-house" strategies only to fail at both. Sony, however, is better equipped for the latter than a lot of other entities, so I'm ready to see what they've got.
No specifics were announced, but I can't see a Sony-developed God of War series for HBO not having a built-in audience, or any number of other opportunities they could go for with their catalog ripe with IP for all ages. Take your time, Sony, make it count. Maybe the corpse of the Sly Cooper film (remember that one?) will finally be resurrected?
"Ultimately, given the complexities of ongoing litigation, we will not change our employee agreements while in active litigation," said Riot said in a statement released after a meeting with employees last week. "We know not everyone agrees with this decision, but we also know everyone does want Riot to continue to improve."
Capcom might be making some weird decisions with Switch port pricing, but when it comes to brand new games (or brand new remakes), they are killing it. Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 are enjoying some of the most celebrated critical and financial successes of this generation, and they have one thing in common: the RE Engine, developed for Resident Evil 7.
It looks like the publisher really struck gold here, and it seems as if it's here to stay. Speaking at a Q&A for their recent financial results briefing at the end of this fiscal year (March 31, 2019), Capcom doubled down on it: "The games we developed using the RE Engine during this current hardware generation have received critical acclaim, and from the early stages of building this engine, we kept the ability to augment it for next-generation development in mind; as such, we view the RE Engine as one of our strengths that will contribute to next-generation game creation."
That's a pretty huge answer with long-lasting implications. I mean the next generation? Will we see the Resident Evil 3 remake and Devil May Cry 6 on the PS5? You can probably bet money on it. Further into the Q&A, Capcom notes that while they decline to grant specifics, "there are numerous titles currently being developed internally with the RE Engine."
"Numerous" eh? We'll probably see at least one more current generation project then.