If you want the latest in breaking news, game announcements, industry rumors, and insider reports from anonymous sources, Kotaku is down the hall to the right! But if you want to hear about the stuff that's interesting to potential Pulitzer Prize winner Nick Diamon and occasionally his sidekick Tom Chick, you're in the right place.
Hours of Darkness, the first installment of three planned DLC packs for Far Cry 5, goes back in time to the jungles of Vietnam. You’ll play as Wendell Redler on a prisoner of war extraction mission. New weapons, enemies, and vehicles will be provided in the paid DLC and they will carry over into the main Hope County campaign. Items like the Vietnam-era M16, SVD sniper rifle, props, and NPCs will also be available to everyone for free in the game’s editor as assets for creating user-made scenarios. A Survivor Mode that reduces weapons and makes the game harder in many ways, and an Action Movie mode that makes everything even more ridiculous round out the DLC pack.
Hours of Darkness for Far Cry 5 will be available on June 5th.
That’s Battlefield V from DICE and Electronic Arts. It has women in combat, cricket bats, prosthetic limbs, jaunty music, combat sliding, window leaps, grenade shooting, samurai swords, and cars falling out of the sky capped off with a V-2 rocket attack. It’s World War 2 gone amok and for some people this is apparently a bridge too far despite Battlefield being the franchise known for platoon wing-walking and sniper shots after ejecting out of crashing helicopters. It’s a series that markets itself with “Only in Battlefield” to highlight the wacky things people do in the game. Add women and the disabled and somehow that’s the line crossed.
In the reveal event hosted by The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, DICE ran through a dizzying checklist of changes to the franchise. First, no season pass or DLC map packs will be sold. New maps and modes will be included with the base purchase for all players, funded by cosmetic bits and bobs in loot boxes. (Presumably DICE will use lessons learned from the disastrous launch of Battlefront 2.) The single player War Stories vignettes returns with scenarios set in Norway, Rotterdam, North Africa, and France. Physical interaction has gotten an overhaul with players able to roll and slide in prone positions, leap through and over obstacles, and injured players can be dragged to new areas for safety before healing. Speaking of healing, all players will be able to perform a limited revive, with the medic being the only class able to fully heal and revive. Say goodbye to active spotting, as enemies are automatically spotted depending on your class, proximity, and being in your field of view. New game modes include a Combined Arms cooperative mode that’s procedurally generated, and Grand Operations PvP with multi-day battles. Exciting changes, or sacrilege depending on your outlook.
Battlefield V launches on October 19th, but Deluxe Edition buyers will get early access beginning October 16. Origin or EA Access subscribers can get in even earlier on October 11th.
From ESPN to multi-million dollar prize pools, video game tournaments are taking root in the mainstream. Esports are now part of the best Olympics. Special Olympics USA and Microsoft are partnering to present the first-ever Special Olympics video game tournament as part of the 2018 Seattle Games. On Monday, July 2, eight teams consisting of pairs of athletes will face off in Forza Motorsport 7 and race for the gold. Additionally, fans will be able to play Forza 7, Minecraft, and Super Lucky’s Tale at booths all week during the event. Beth Knox, President and CEO of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, pointed out the developmental benefits of video games.
“Many of our athletes are avid gamers and research indicates playing video games can potentially boost cognitive and motor skills of people with intellectual disabilities.”
Microsoft has been a partner of Special Olympics USA since 2014. If you’d like to attend the 2018 Seattle Games or help out, information is available here.
Epic is putting up $100 million to fund the esport prize pool for Fortnite Battle Royale. That’s $100 million straight from the company’s own funds, rather than crowdfunded by fans. How crazy large is that prize pool? It’s more than the total for the ten most popular games of 2017 combined. It’s epic money. According to the studio, the funding is being done with an eye towards fun and inclusivity, although it’s not clear yet what that really means for the competitive events.
That’s Blackout, the new Battle Royale mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Characters taken from throughout the franchise’s history spawn in a giant map and fight it out until one team or person is left standing just like all the other Battle Royale games. Blackout’s delineator (besides the brand power) is vehicles. Lots and lots of land, sea, and air vehicles. According to Activision, the “biggest map ever created for Call of Duty” is needed to encompass all the action. There’s no word yet on how many combatants at a time will be battle-royaling out at the same time.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is launching on October 12th. The PC version will exclusively be available through Battle.net.
Nothing is going to equal the dissonance of the original Dead Island trailer in relation to that game, but this campaign for State of Decay 2 sure doesn’t match the goofy jank of an open-world sandbox. There’s the Found Footage of Coach video above and a Medical Log of Nurse. The sequel to one of the best zombie survival games made is coming on May 22nd for normal folks and four days earlier for Ultimate Edition preorders. The marketing from Microsoft is ramping up and these spots are reminiscent of the Halo 3 Believe commercials. Somber, self-serious ads that turned out to have more gravitas than the product deserved. Everyone wants their zombie games to feel like the last few desperate minutes of Night of the Living Dead, when most of them play like the pie fight in Dawn of the Dead.
If you want to compare the tone of the videos with the actual game before launch, check out Tom’s livestreams of State of Decay 2 all this week!
That’s gameplay from the just-launched mod, The Curse of Tristram: Destruction’s End. It attempts to recreate Diablo II in Starcraft II. That’s seven player classes, three difficulty modes, co-op, new random global events, and most of the main story campaign. Creator Etienne Godbout has been working on it for four years and while there are still some bugs, and it’s definitely a beta, it’s an impressive effort from a lone modder. Doubly so, when you consider the Starcraft II engine is being stretched to the limit to make this work.
The Curse of Tristram is now available in Starcraft II’s arcade mode.
The Monster Hunter movie begins filming in September. Variety reports that Paul W.S. Anderson will direct and Milla Jovovich will star as the titular hunter of monsters. The production budget is estimated to be about $60 million through Constantin Films, which is no doubt pleased with Anderson’s proven ability to wring money from a tired, effects-heavy franchise. There’s no word on the plot yet, but since it’s based on the bombastic fantasy series from Capcom, you can likely expect 40% of it to be costume changes, 30% gathering materials, and the rest of the movie consisting of killing the same couple of monsters again and again to get the right drops.
APB: Reloaded is getting another revamp. Little Orbit has purchased the action MMO and plans to revitalize the game. The announcement from Little Orbit CEO Matthew Scott promises to keep the community of players informed and acknowledges that the new owners have a lot of work ahead of them. One of the big first tasks revealed is an engine upgrade from Unreal Engine 3 to 4. New content is slated as well as housekeeping like GDPR updates to player agreements.
There’s been a lot of speculation over the last couple months about who would be crazy enough to take on this game. And I’m not going to try and sugarcoat it, we know that the confidence in this game is at an all time low, and odds are you haven’t heard of us at Little Orbit. But that’s OK.
APB: Reloaded infamously began as the ill-fated followup to Crackdown from RealTime Worlds in 2010. After liquidation and shutdown that same year, the game was purchased by K2 Network and published by GamersFirst in most of the world. Although it’s not very popular in the US, the game has dedicated fans in South America and Russia.
Ubisoft has announced DLC for Star Trek: Bridge Crew, and it’s a doozy for fans of the 90’s. The Next Generation expansion adds the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701D, Data-style android crew, Romulan and Borg enemies, and two new mission types. Patrol is a free-roam journey from hotspot to hotspot, Resistance is a storyline featuring a grueling run from a Borg cube. Hopefully, you won’t end up married to the Borg Queen. Excelsior!
The Next Generation arrives on May 22nd for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR with other versions launching on July 21st.
Offline starfighter matches with bots are coming to Star Wars Battlefront II. The Han Solo season of game content, inspired by the upcoming movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story, adds film-related content, additional multiplayer modes, cosmetics, and the much-requested ability to create Custom Arcade matches against AI opponents in starfighter face-offs. The Starfighter Assault mode was some of the best content in the base game, so more pew-pew in space is a good thing. With custom skirmish matches you’ll be able to avoid the semi-pros online that have unlocked all the perks for Kylo Ren’s souped-up TIE Fighter and just concentrate on blowing helpless fodder out of the skies.
The Han Solo season for Battlefront II begins on May 16th.
Pinball Arcade, the game that recreates classic real-life tables in virtual form, is losing 61 tables from Bally and Williams due to licensing issues. Beginning June 30th, the tables in this list will no longer be available for purchase. Black Knight, Elvira, The Addams Family, Eight Ball Deluxe, and many more are going the way of the virtual dodo. According to FarSight, while the tables will continue to be supported with bug fixes, they will not be offered for sale because the license holder decided not to renew their agreement. Goodbye Twilight Zone! Au revoir Tales of the Arabian Nights.
Lara Croft will be using a bow as her primary weapon in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Speaking to Official Xbox Magazine, game director Dan Bisson said that despite Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s premise of being the final part of young Lara Croft’s journey to becoming the tomb raider we remember in previous games, we won’t be seeing the iconic double pistols this time around.
“It’s because the twin pistols have an iconic thing about them. For this triolgy – not saying anything about later on, I don’t know about the future titles – but for this trilogy, the bow is still her signature weapon.”
Is it any less believable to kill a T-Rex using a bow and arrows versus using two handguns? Besides, the bow works a lot better when you’re creeping behind waist-high tomb rubble all the time.
X-Wing is getting an upgrade. The popular tabletop Star Wars space combat miniatures game from Fantasy Flight is being revamped for its second edition release. The developers say they’re focusing on making combat more exciting, adding a mobile and web app to build squadrons, and introducing The Force as a gameplay mechanic.
If you’re a veteran player with a large collection of ships already, you may be wondering if this new edition will leave your flight grounded. For just $50 a pop, there will be conversion kits available that will take your ships into the new era. Not all your ships at once, of course. According to the FAQ, the kits are divided by faction and have enough materials to convert a couple of ships from each class. For example, if you have more than two of the older iconic X-Wing ships, you’ll need to spend more because each of the Rebel Alliance Conversion Kits only cover two X-Wings. If only money were as plentiful as midichlorians!
X-Wing Second Edition releases in September with a core set, expansion ships, and the conversion kits.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 launched in 2015. We’ve had Infinite Warfare, WWII, a revamp of Modern Warfare, and even an online-only version in Asia launch since then. Despite that, Activision keeps updating Black Ops 3 to the delight of its fans. The bee-themed Operation Swarm adds the popular Prop Hunt mode to Black Ops 3 multiplayer along with two new guns, some new cosmetic bits, and a night version of the Fringe map. If you’re wondering why it’s bee-themed, I guess its because getting content updates for a three year old Call of Duty title is sweeter than honey, or it’s the bees knees. The buzz is positive! It’s bee-utiful? It takes the sting out of the last couple of games? I’ll stop now.