#43: Christmas Is On Point

TODAY: Phoenix Point hopefully ready in time for Christmas — Microsoft is dishing up a generous helping of gaming goodness in August — Outer Worlds set to colonize the Switch too

Top Story

Death Stranding will “definitely be a statement,” says Troy Baker

Hideo Kojima’s upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive Death Stranding is poised to become more than just a best-seller: According to actor Troy Baker, Kojima’s creation is going to “move the medium forward”.

Not much is clear about the Metal Gear Solid creator’s latest opus: We have all seen the teasers where Norman Reedus is naked on the beach, Guillermo Del Toro explores a sewer and a baby gives a thumbs-up – but all we really know is that the game is weird.

Don’t fear the reaper

Fans of Kojima’s earlier works already know you need a bucket of hallucinogens to get on his wavelength, and it looks like he’s going to outdo himself this time. Troy Baker is also convinced that Death Stranding will sell on Kojima’s name rather than the star-studded cast. “If you know anything about Kojima, he doesn’t make ‘games’. He’s an amazing world builder. He’s trying to move the medium forward, not just trying to move copies,” Troy Baker told Push Square.

Death Stranding launches on PlayStation 4 on November 8th. It’s an open-world action game with multiplayer features, but according to Kojima himself the game is only an action game the way early Metal Gear Solid games were considered action games since the stealth genre hadn’t been clearly defined yet.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which one of these games is NOT a direct successor to XCOM?

  • Phoenix Point
  • Xenonauts
  • The Bureau
  • UFO: Aftermath

The answer will be revealed at the end of this issue!

News Bits

Phoenix Point delayed again, this time to December

Snapshot Games’ tactical turn-based alien exterminator Phoenix Point has been pushed back again, and is now due out December 2019. The spiritual X-COM successor from Julian Gollop is set in the year 2047 on Earth during an alien invasion and sees a gaggle of Lovecraftian horrors almost eradicate mankind. The PC version will be exclusive to Epic Game Store, and for now the only console version is for Xbox One.

New Need For Speed in 2019?

Turns out the box art and other details that were apparently leaked by an Austrian games store is actually a bunch of fan art and community speculation. Neither the art nor the title come from Electronic Arts – so while there’s probably a new Need For Speed game in the works, this isn’t it!

Daily Fact

Lunch and the Fat Man have some ding in common

If you ever find yourself eating at Bethesda Softworks’ cafeteria, then you might also find yourself worried about getting nuked. That’s because the cafeteria’s lunch bell makes the exact same ‘ding’ as the Fat Man shoulder-mounted mini-nuke launcher from Fallout 3.

Your fear would even be somewhat warranted, as the Fat Man nuke launcher is not completely imaginary: The United States army actually developed a tactical nuclear recoilless gun called the M-29 Davy Crockett Weapon System, which was deployed several times during the Cold War but (fortunately?) never saw use in combat. Additionally, the name Fat Man was taken from the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city Nagasaki in August 1945.

Weekly Deals

What are ya buyin’?

We’re back with more spicy deals, and this week we’ve got a great mix of both PC and console titles.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS3/PS Vita) £2.39 @ PlayStation Store

Two Point Hospital (PS4/Xbox One) £27.95 @ The Game Collection

Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4) £29.99 @ Game

Devil May Cry HD Collection (PS4) £12.85 @ ShopTo

Crypt of the NecroDancer (PC) £2.19 @ Steam

Sonic Generations Collection (PC) £3.74 @ Steam

The Sonic Generations Collection and Devil May Cry HD Collection are both great value, packing some legit classics. If you’ve already started your summer holidays, or are looking forward to them in the next few weeks, either of the collections is chock-full of excellent games that will keep you cool through any heat wave!

Daily News

Xbox Live Gold August line-up includes Gears of War 4 and Forza 6

The next batch of freebies for Xbox Live Gold subscribers has been announced, and there are some tasty treats in store. Games with Gold require an active subscription, such as Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

The August batch of free games are worth $94 and pack a total of 6200 in Gamerscore. Things kick off with Gears of War 4 and Torchlight, before Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and Forza Motorsport 6 join the party later by mid-August.

  • August 1-31: Gears of War 4 – “A new saga begins for one of the most acclaimed video game franchises in history. After narrowly escaping an attack on their village, JD Fenix and his friends, Kait and Del, must rescue the ones they love and discover the source of a monstrous new enemy.
    * August 1-15: Torchlight – “Welcome to Torchlight! A sleepy enclave founded on the discovery of rich veins of Ember: a rare and mysterious ore with the power to enchant or corrupt all that it touches. Emboldened by its power, legions of twisted creatures have begun to swarm up from the tunnels and caves below town. Choose from three heroes in this Action-RPG and delve into the caverns below town for endless treasure and glory.”
  • August 16-31: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – “Left as a foundling at the gates of the Brotherhood of Light convent they named him Gabriel and raised him as their own. Over the years he developed an unprecedented mastery of the fighting arts. Prone to dark moods he was deeply affected by the death of his one true love, Marie.He has now embarked on a quest at the request of the Elders of the Brotherhood to discover why the World is in chaos and within him lies a burning desire for revenge on those who took his beloved.”
  • August 16-September 15: Forza Motorsport 6 – “Forza Motorsport 6 is unrelenting action at simulation speed in the most beautiful and comprehensive racing game of this generation. Collect, customize, and race over 450 Forzavista™ cars, all with working cockpits and full damage. Compete in epic 24-player races across 26 world-famous locales. Master wet weather and night racing on your road to victory.”

The Outer Worlds brings single-player sci-fi to Switch

Obsidian Entertainment’s single-player sci-fi RPG The Outer Worlds will also be coming to Nintendo Switch, and an announcement trailer just went live on the official Nintendo YouTube channel.

Sometime in the future, megacorps are busy colonising and terraforming alien worlds, which is probably a really well-regulated business with no negative externalities whatsoever – all totally above board, no corners cut. Unfortunately for us, our colony ship malfunctions and strands us on the edge of colony space, giving a great opportunity to explore nearby colonies to figure out what’s going on and find out more about the corporations running them.

”A new and better life awaits you on our distant home planet, Blisstonia.”

Fortunately, we won’t be alone on the journey: An arsenal of fancy guns and a pair of companions will keep us company. They’ll likely come in handy when dealing with the more or less friendly factions populating the universe. But the most interesting part of the game is a progress system that not only rewards perks for getting better at things, but also let you develop flaws by continually failing at certain parts of the game system – and the story will apparently adapt accordingly.

The Outer Worlds will release on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 October 25, 2019. It promises dark humour, plenty of player choice and consequences beyond the typical good/bad binary. It’s uncertain when the game arrives on Switch, but it will be after the other platforms.

Weekly Giveaway

Lost Orbit: Terminal Velocity

We’ve got a fresh giveaway for you this week! Lost Orbit: Terminal Velocity is a game about trying to return home through the vastness of space – armed only with your wits and whatever equipment you can scavenge or improvise – and we’ve got a Steam code to give away every day this week to one lucky winner on our active reader list!

“LOST ORBIT centers around the exploration of space. Players take control of a lone astronaut who sets off on a dangerous journey to rejoin his civilization, armed with only an improvised set of equipment and a relentless spirit.

Without the help of his ship, Harrison will need to use the gravitational forces of planets to navigate and propel himself through space.

Set in a world rich with comedy and tragedy, LOST ORBIT is a game filled with risk, loneliness, wonder, and death.”

News Bits

Switch closing on 37 million sales

Nintendo Switch has surpassed 36.87 million sales worldwide, and software is doing pretty well too: Super Mario Maker 2 sold 2.42 million in only three days, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has shifted 17.89 million units, while Super Mario Odyssey clocks in at 14.94 million, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at 14.73 million and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at 13.61 million. A new chapter in the success story begins on September 20th, with the launch of the handheld Switch Lite.

Terrifying Greek mythology for VR

Journey For Elysium mixes up Greek mythology and virtual reality in a story-driven adventure following a dead hero into the underworld. The story begins on a boat crossing the river Styx, and revolves around finding away into Elysium, judging by the gameplay trailer. Journey For Elysium is compatible with HTC Vive and Oculus VR, and hits Steam sometime in the last quarter this year.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which one of these games is NOT a direct successor to XCOM?

Answer: The Bureau!

The original XCOM – known as X-Com: UFO Defense or UFO: Enemy Unknown – was originally released in 1994, inspired an avalanche of imitators years later, after all the people who played the original game grew up. While Civilization developer Firaxis revived the franchise (and arguably the turn-based strategy genre) with XCOM: Enemy Unknown in 2012, there are a bunch of spiritual successors too.

Indie darling Xenonauts attempted to recreate (and update) the look and feel of the original X-Com, and will begetting a sequel soon. UFO: Aftermath was a 2003 project fashioned from the ashes of an X-Com remake led by series creator Julian Gollop – who is busy making another spiritual successor now called Phoenix Point, which just got delayed to December.

And The Bureau? It’s already an XCOM game – The Bureau: XCOM Declassified was a more action-packed first-person interpretation of the concept but unfortunately not a particularly great one.

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