Star Renegades, a tactical roguelike from Massive Damage Inc, gets a massive update on PC just before Christmas, bringing PC players a whole lot of new toys.
In addition to a new planet, the update offers a handful of new enemies including three adversaries, two behemoths, and a new drone type.
Console players will have to wait for the update until early 2021. The game is currently available on PC, Switch, and Xbox One – it’s available via Game Pass for both Xbox and PC, is also expected to arrive on PS4 in early 2021.
I have long considered Xbox Game Pass to be the best value in gaming and in my mind it’s not particularly close – and that was BEFORE Xbox dropped this Game Pass trailer at The Game Awards showcasing what’s coming soon to the service.
Morkredd, Cyber Shadow, Neoverse, Killer Queen Black, Medium, Among Us (PC only), Yakuza 3, 4, 5, and 6.
Oh, and a little game called Skyrim.
Game Pass is currently available on promo with three months for $1 for new subscribers. No better time to jump in than now.
Multiplayer PvPvE (player versus player versus environment) heist game Hood: Outlaws & Legends hits PS4/PS5, Xbox One/Xbox Series, and PC next year, but gamers can get familiar with some of the backstories at play today thanks to the release of four narrative trailers.
If you’re interested in the game, check out The Game Awards on December 10th when they’ll be unveiling new content. You can wishlist the game on steam right now – Hood: Outlaws & Legends or visit www.hood-game.com to get more information on the game and register for their email newsletters.
Pandemic time might make it seem like it’s been longer, but it was just May of this year that John Wick Hex released on PS4 – and that’s now joined by a release on Switch, Steam, and Xbox One.
The strategy title is a unique take on the John Wick character, with players having to carefully manage time in order to make it through encounters unscathed. It’s hard to really explain, but check out this behind the scenes featurette for more.
Here’s the press release:
John Wick Hex Releases Today on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch & Steam
Grab the thrilling tactical-action game from Good Shepherd Entertainment, Lionsgate & Bithell Games for 30% off on select platforms for a limited time!
AMSTERDAM & LOS ANGELES — Dec. 4, 2020 — Publisher Good Shepherd Entertainment, global content leader Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) and independent developer Bithell Games have launched John Wick Hex today on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam. This fast-paced, action-driven strategy game is available for $19.99, but you can get the Steam and Nintendo Switch versions for 30% off from now through December 11!
Created in close cooperation with the creative teams behind the acclaimed films, John Wick Hex captures the look and feel of the series’ signature gun fu combat with unique time-based tactical gameplay that blurs the line between strategy and action. Think and strike like the legendary hitman himself, choosing every action and making quick decisions in the heat of battle. Everything you do has its own risks/rewards and changes the situation at hand, so plan your moves carefully, grab new weapons and ammo as they fall from your foes, and make the most of every second.
Experience an original story set prior to the events of the films that expands on the John Wick universe. Become the Baba Yaga on a mission to rescue Winston and Charon from a dangerous new adversary seeking hisbirthright.
The world-class voice talents of Ian McShane and Lance Reddick, reprising their iconic roles from the films, and voice acting legend Troy Baker as the game’s eponymous villain,“Hex.”
Progress through the main campaign to unlock new weapons, suit options and locations.
Explore the criminal underworld of the films, brought to life with unique 3D graphic noir artwork and an original score from renowned composer Austin Wintory.
Building on their work from the original PC title, Bithell Games (Thomas Was Alone, Subsurface Circular) has collaborated with Ant Workshop to reimagine John Wick Hex for consoles and redesign it for controllers. Wick’s every move and skills will be available at your thumb tips as quick as the man himself.
John Wick Hex is also available on PlayStation®4 and the Epic Games Store. A special physical retail version of the game is available globally thanks to distribution partner U&I Entertainment. For more info, visit JohnWickHex.com, and follow @mikeBithell and @GoodShepherdEnt on Twitter.
About Good Shepherd Entertainment Good Shepherd Entertainment publishes video games from independent artists worldwide and operates a proprietary investment platform for a growing global network of qualified investors seeking risk- mitigated participation in the $130B video game industry. Originally established in the Netherlands in 2011, operating under the name Gambitious, the Company became a full-featured publisher in 2014. Good Shepherd Entertainment is backed by some of the industry’s most notable names, including Devolver Digital, Croteam and Perfect World, all successful companies in independent game development and publishing. www.GoodShepherd.games
About Bithell Games Bithell Games is a team focused on creating entertaining, innovative games which tell mature stories. Their original titles span multiple platforms and include the BAFTA-winning Thomas Was Alone, Volume, The Solitaire Conspiracy and the award-nominated Circular anthology series (Subsurface Circular, Quarantine Circular).
About Lionsgate Combining the STARZ premium global subscription platform with world-class motion picture and television studio operations, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) brings a unique and varied portfolio of entertainment to consumers around the world. Its film, television, subscription, interactive game and location-based entertainment businesses are backed by a 17,000-title library and one of the largest collections of film and television franchises. A digital age company driven by its entrepreneurial culture and commitment to innovation, the Lionsgate brand is synonymous with bold, original, relatable entertainment for the audiences it serves worldwide.
About Ant Workshop Ants — tiny, strong, focussed, good at working with others to achieve their goals and often with a nasty bite. Some of these characteristics (not so much the bitey ones) are also shared by Ant Workshop, a small independent game developer and work-for-hire studio based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
I have to admit that I haven’t played Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem, but it looks cool enough that I might have to rectify that one day soon.
The game just got a major content update, Chronicle I: Bloodtrail, that provides players with a ton of free content including expanded endgame story, missions, and rewards – plus a redesigned core experience.
Maybe it IS a great time to jump on board…
Here’s the press release:
Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem’s “Chronicle I: Bloodtrail” Update Launches Today on Steam
The hit action RPG’s first free major content drop revamps the core adventure while expanding the endgame, story and more!
NICE, France – Dec. 3, 2020 – The hack-and-slash action RPG Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem is getting its first free major content update today on Steam. “Chronicle I: Bloodtrail” marks a new dawn for the game, delivering expanded endgame story, missions and more while redesigning the core experience to be closer to the developers’ original vision. The full game is also available for 25% off on Steam for a limited time.
Here’s what “Chronicle I” brings to the game today:
A new game mode that revamps the core adventure with stronger foundations in a number of ways. This is how Wolcen was always intended to be played, with a variety of new skills and balance updates plus a reset of the player economy to let you play a new character in a completely fresh game state!
New Endgame Story, Missions, Events & Rewards: New fully voiced narrative missions and events with exciting rewards, unique armor, adorable baby dragon pets and a deadly boss!
A New Friend: You are not alone — new faithful companion pets can follow you on your journey. There are many different pets for you to discover and love!
Kickstarter Rewards: We didn’t forget about our Kickstarter backers — thank you so much for sticking with us for so long! Backer pets and armor are ready for you to collect as Steam inventory items that you can trade with other players.
And more! New monsters, skills, and a revised character sheet, plus updates for localization, gameplay, balancing, player choice, weapons, crafting, animations, VFX, UI and beyond.
Partnered Twitch streamers will be playing the game’s new content today starting at 1 PM ET/10 AM PT. Players can win the special Time-Devourer Wolf in-game pet by linking their Twitch and Wolcen accounts and watching select streams with Twitch Drops enabled for at least one hour today through Dec. 7.
A global top seller on Steam with over one million units sold in its first three weeks after release earlier this year, Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem peaked at 127,542 concurrent players at launch. The team at Wolcen Studios, which has expanded now from 30 to 60 developers, has continued to grow, improve and balance the game with over a dozen updates driven by community feedback, with even more coming in the future.
Phoenix Point piqued my interest from the moment it was announced, and the game delivered on that hype enough that I’m also interested in Phoenix Point: Year One Edition – which hit retail today.
The turn-based strategy game from X-COM creator Julian Gollop is familiar to fans of his previous work, but brings in new ideas and innovations that would have been hard to accommodate in X-COM. That’s the problem with working on an established franchise – even if it’s one that you yourself established – and the joy with breaking off to create something new.
The Year One Edition provides a new tutorial prologue to help ease new players into the game, new weapons and equipment, a new help system, and overhauls to menus and gameplay. It also includes all previously-released DLC for the game – and it’s 50% off for a limited time!
Phoenix Point: Year One Edition is available now on Steam, GOG.com, and the Epic Games Store.
Here’s the press release:
Phoenix Point: Year One Edition Out Now on Steam, GOG.com & the Epic Games Store
Snapshot’s hit turn-based strategy game arrives on Steam for the first time with a new major content update and special low price!
SOFIA, Bulgaria — Dec. 3, 2020 — Snapshot Games has debuted Phoenix Point: Year One Edition on Steam and GOG.com. This definitive version of the hit turn-based strategy game from X-COM creator Julian Gollop features all previously released DLC (including “Legacy of the Ancients,” “Blood and Titanium,” and the “Living Weapons Pack”) and is available for 50% off for a limited time on Steam and GOG.com, as well as the Epic Games Store.
Phoenix Point: Year One Edition’s launch today coincides with the game’s massive new Polaris update, which adds new content and features driven by community feedback, including:
A brand-new tutorial prologue that introduces new characters, cinematics, and maps while teaching the core gameplay fundamentals.
New weapons and equipment with their own research tracts, including a riot shield, shotgun, grenade launcher and heavy cannon.
A new contextual pop-up help system integrated throughout the entire game.
New menu screens with updated info, plus a wide range of gameplay improvements, balance updates and more.
Phoenix Point delivers a new breed of turn-based strategy and action against alien invaders. Build global alliances, manage your base, and command your forces in intense battles with dynamic objectives and destructible environments. Procedurally generated maps, branching storylines with multiple endings, and enemies that mutate to counter your tactics ensure no two playthroughs are ever the same. That experience has grown even further post-launch with new DLC and updates featuring bonus story missions, cinematics, maps, weapons, abilities, factions and more, all included in the Year One Edition!
Current owners of Phoenix Point on the Epic Games Store can upgrade to the new Year One Edition to get the “Legacy of the Ancients,” “Blood and Titanium,” and “Living Weapons Pack” DLC together for 50% off the standard price of $14.99 for a limited time.
About Snapshot Games Snapshot Games is a video game development studio founded in 2013 by Julian Gollop and David Kaye and headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria. Gollop is recognized for creating the X-COM video game franchise in the 1990s with UFO: Enemy Unknown and X-COM: Apocalypse. Gollop also is the CEO of Snapshot Games. The company’s developers include industry veterans with years of prior experience working for studios like Ubisoft Sofia, Crytek Black Sea and more.
Bloober Team, a Polish game developer, has been around for 12 years and put out several games in a variety of genres, but it wasn’t until they switched to horror that they really found their groove. Layers of Fear was a creepy delight, followed up by strong releases in Observer – read that review here – then Layers of Fear 2, and finally their interpretation of Blair Witch.
The team is currently working on The Medium, planned to launch with the Xbox Series line of consoles but now delayed into early 2021, so they tapped Anshar Studios to remaster Observer for next-gen consoles as Observer: System Redux. Anshar provided art remastering and gameplay improvements, along with some new content for the port to PS5 and Xbox Series consoles, along with a PC version.
The timing on this release seems almost too on point, as the plot features a KPD detective – voiced by the late Rutger Hauer – who is in the opening stages of investigating his son’s call for help when the building is locked down by a plague called Nanophage. The remaster offers up new side cases that flesh out the plot a bit, helping show a bit more of the backstory of the world and what it’s like to be one of Poland’s ‘Class C’ citizens.
While the original nailed the aesthetic of a cyberpunk future’s ghetto, the next-gen version also offers raytracing, animation improvements, and some tweaks to the somewhat underwhelming stealth sections that really help make them more playable and fun.
What I Loved:
A strong visual upgrade on an already great looking game
Top-notch voice acting
Great audio overall
Great world building and lore background
What I Liked:
Some great tension builds towards the ‘scare’ moments
New animations and side story content!
What I Disliked:
A little too reliant on jump scares for my taste
What I Hated:
Observer: System Redux is available now on PS5, Xbox Series consoles, and PC. Reviewed on Xbox Series X using code provided by the publisher.
Agent 47 will be returning to China in the upcoming HITMAN 3, taking to the streets of Chongqing – a southwestern Chinese megacity with a population of over 31 million.
Presumably a few less after he arrives.
Whatever the body count turns out to be, at least those neon-lit environments are going to look good thanks to the Glacier engine – especially on next-gen (is that current-gen now?) machines, which will get 4K resolution at 60 fps and HDR support.
You’ll also be able to visit past locations from the franchise, with the ability to import locations from previous games in the trilogy – giving you a total of 20+ environments all in one spot.
IO Interactive hasn’t let us down yet, so I’m looking forward to taking a shot at this one when it hits shelves, January 20th, 2021. The game will be available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series consoles, as well as Stadia and PC. Switch owners can look forward to the game being delivered via cloud streaming technology, much like the recent release of Control: Ultimate Edition.
Here’s the press release:
HITMAN 3 reveals new location – Chongqing, China
IO Interactive’s new ‘Chongqing’ location fully showcases Glacier technology
Chongqing is a new location for HITMAN 3, taking Agent 47 to the rainy, neon-lit streets of a Chinese transportation hub packed full of shops and food stands, all crammed into tight streets – with plenty of secrets off the beaten path. Chongqing is also the destination to showcase improvements and refinements coming to HITMAN 3’s technology.
Powered by IO Interactive’s proprietary Glacier engine, HITMAN 3 will look, sound and play better than ever with improvements to lighting, reflections, animation and AI. Chongqing also features full water effects, with details such as rain drops hitting Agent 47 and his clothes getting wet, all adding to the immersion of experiencing HITMAN 3.
On next-gen consoles, HITMAN 3 will run in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second with HDR support. The latest ‘Under The Hood’ trailer showcases this brand new location with smooth new gameplay moments that show off the refinements to interaction animation and AI, as well as Glacier’s crowd technology that will allow up to 300 NPC’s in a location at once.
HITMAN 3 players can import locations from the previous games in the trilogy and have more than 20+ locations under one roof. All of the improvements to rendering, animation and AI introduced with HITMAN 3 can be enjoyed across all three games, making HITMAN 3 the ultimate place to play the entire World of Assassination trilogy.
HITMAN 3 will be available on 20 January 2021 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Google Stadia and PC. HITMAN 3 will also be coming to Nintendo Switch, playable via cloud streaming technology.
About IO Interactive IO Interactive is an independent videogame development and publishing studio with offices in Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden. As the creative force behind some of the most talked-about multiplatform videogames in the last decade, IOI is dedicated to creating unforgettable characters and experiences using their award-winning proprietary Glacier technology. IO Interactive are developing and publishing the very first James Bond origin story with the working title Project 007. For more information, visit: https://ioi.dk.
The Falconeer continually reminds me of Sea Of Thieves, and it’s not just the stylized graphics or environments dominated by water – it’s something about the pace of the game.
This is a game I can fire up when I’m stressed after a bad day and just soar around the skies taking it all in. The game’s art style, like Sea of Thieves, just has something in it that works for me. The bright colours, the rolling waves, the gorgeous skies – it’s soothing to turn the HUD off and just take a low flight over the ocean, seeing whales jump out of the water and other random events, and not worry about anything for a bit.
When you’re decompressed and ready for more, the game offers up a combat system that’s reminiscent of Crimson Skies – only on the back of a giant falcon. Whatever bird you’re riding – the game offers up a few with different stats – has an energy bar that can be used to gain altitude, fly faster, do tight turns, or pull off evasive barrel rolls. When depleted that bar can be refilled by diving, which creates a balancing act between using it for gaining height and having enough left to use for your defensive moves.
There are also some environmental objects to keep an eye out for, including waterspouts that will give your bird a free ride to the upper atmosphere, lightning storms to recharge your guns, and jet streams that help you transit the long distances between settlements faster.
I could just fly around this world for hours…
The story – a sprawling tale that will have you questioning what’s really going on in this world – is told over several chapters, and there are some difficulty spikes that will necessitate grinding out some side missions for money to upgrade both your bird, using potions that add abilities like more health or faster regeneration, or your weaponry. Early on there’s some skill check battles that will make sure you know how to dodge incoming fire or keep a lock on your enemy as you battle in a WWII style furball of tightly-circling combatants, but for the most part it’s simply a matter of ‘my guns are doing enough damage, I need new guns’ damage checks.
Falconeer’s story throws you through several factions as you switch falconeers at key points to give you some perspective on the other cultures at play in the world. It’s an interesting approach that allows for some of the twists and betrayals to really hit home for those who are paying attention and not simply waiting until they can go fly again.
For as fun as combat is, and I didn’t namecheck the legendary Crimson Skies without good reason, I had just as much fun in The Falconeer simply roaming the skies taking it all in. This is a world with personality, and I still want to see what else it has to offer.
I played on both the Xbox One X and Xbox Series X, and while the new console has a decided edge in load times it was a great experience on both. The game offers up 4K resolution at 60 fps on the Series X, and upscaled 4K at 60 fps on the One X. The Series X also offers up an upscaled 4K at 120 fps mode that is incredibly smooth if you have the monitor or TV to take advantage of it.
What I Loved:
Super relaxing feel to the non-combat moments
Great photo mode
What I liked:
‘play at your own pace’ style allows players to explore when they want, for as long as they want
Bird/weapon upgrades are kept simple – no need to read pages of stats to figure things out
A game you can jump back into just to explore
Story beats that really work thanks to seeing every side of the conflict
What I Disliked:
Difficulty spikes that force you to grind out cash
Could have used more mission variety
What I Hated:
The Falconeer is available now on Xbox consoles and PC for $38.99 Canadian. Reviewed on Xbox One X and Xbox Series X using code provided for review.
I like League of Legends (LoL) even though I’m not great at it and don’t have the time to dedicate to get there, so I’m delighted to get word that Airship Syndicate – a developer whose work I’ve loved in the past – is developing a single-player turn-based RPG set in that universe.
That game, slated to hit console and PC in early 2021 at this point, is called Ruined King: A League of Legends Story. It will debut on Steam/Epic Game Store, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One, with the next-gen release planned for “soon thereafter” according to the press release, which you can read in its entirety below.
Players can expect to explore two regions: Bilgewater and Shadow Isles, while learning more backstory details about existing LoL champions Miss Fortune, Illaoi, Braum, Yasuo, Ahri, and Pyke.
Here’s the press release:
RISE AGAINST RUIN ON CONSOLE AND PC, EARLY 2021
Ruined King: A League of Legends Story™ launches on Console and PC early 2021
Los Angeles, CA – October 31, 2020 – Today Riot Forge announced that Ruined King: A League of Legends Story™ will launch on consoles and PC in Early 2021. Bringing the League of Legends IP to consoles for the first time, Ruined King will be available on Nintendo Switch™, PlayStation®4 system, Xbox One, Steam®, and The Epic Games Store and soon thereafter on PlayStation®5 system and Xbox Series X|S with existing PlayStation®4 system and Xbox One owners having the ability to upgrade their version for free.
“Ruined King is a great way to expand the world of Runeterra for brand new players as well as our dedicated League of Legends (LoL) fans,” said Head of Riot Forge at Riot Games, Leanne Loombe. “Ruined King will be the first single-player game to bring the LoL universe to both consoles and PC. We are excited to take this plunge into exploring stories and champions that players have enjoyed over the years, and can’t wait for our players to embark on this new adventure with us.”
Ruined King: A League of Legends Story is developed by Airship Syndicate (the creators of Battle Chasers: Nightwar and Darksiders Genesis, led by the legendary comic book artist Joe Madureira) and is the first game published by Riot Forge. This single-player and immersive turn-based RPG invites new players to the LoL universe as well as players entrenched in the lore to enjoy exploring its mysteries.
The story is set in two regions of Runeterra, Bilgewater, a port town that is home to sea monster hunters, dock gangs, and smugglers from across the known world; and the Shadow Isles, a land cursed with the deadly Black Mist which shrouds the island and corrupts those it comes in contact with. In order to defeat a common and mysterious enemy, players will form an unlikely party of beloved League of Legends champions – Miss Fortune, Illaoi, Braum, Yasuo, Ahri, and Pyke.
“We couldn’t resist the chance to work with Riot Forge to expand the epic world of Runeterra,” said Joe Madureira, CEO of Airship Syndicate. “These are some of our own favorite champions, and we can’t wait for players to see how we brought the characters, creatures, and environments of Runeterra to life.”
Riot Forge will have more to share about Ruined King: A League of Legends Story in December. For the latest, visit https://ruinedking.com/
About Riot Forge Riot Forge was established in 2019 and is a player and developer-focused publisher with the mission of bringing the League of Legends universe to new players and platforms by delivering bespoke “completable” games. Forge’s debut title, Ruined King, will be released in early 2021.
Forge is a publishing label within Riot Games that complements Riot’s research and development program. Forge is focused on working with experienced studios outside of Riot Games as these games will be created and developed by our partner studios and published by Riot Forge. Each game released will expand the League of Legends universe and allow players to experience League like never before.
About Riot Games Riot Games was founded in 2006 to develop, publish, and support the most player-focused games in the world. In 2009, Riot released its debut title, League of Legends, to worldwide acclaim. League has gone on to be the most-played PC game in the world and a key driver of the explosive growth of esports.
As League enters its second decade, Riot continues to evolve the game while delivering new experiences to players with Teamfight Tactics,Legends of Runeterra, VALORANT, League of Legends: Wild Rift, and multiple work-in-progress titles, while exploring the world of Runeterra through multimedia projects across music, comic books, TV, and more.
Founded by Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill and led by CEO Nicolo Laurent, Riot is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, and has 2,500+ Rioters in 20+ offices worldwide.
About Airship Syndicate Airship Syndicate is an independent game development studio based in sunny Austin, Texas. Since 2014 our goal has been simple: build a fun and focused team dedicated to crafting top-quality experiences for console and PC. Led by visionary comic artist Joe Madureira and a host of game industry veterans, we work with talent both in our studio and around the world.
Airship’s titles include the acclaimed Battle Chasers: Nightwar and the high-octane co-op brawler Darksiders Genesis. The upcoming RPG Ruined King: A League of Legends Story is set to expand on the epic world of Runeterra, bringing a new perspective to the champions people worldwide have come to love.