More survival gameplay in a brand new locale is coming to Don’t Starve, as per the PC Gaming conference.
Don’t Starve: Hamlet is set in a tropical jungle and brings new items, treasures, and characters to the game.
The DLC will be out in December.
More survival gameplay in a brand new locale is coming to Don’t Starve, as per the PC Gaming conference.
Don’t Starve: Hamlet is set in a tropical jungle and brings new items, treasures, and characters to the game.
The DLC will be out in December.
Tripwire Interactive revealed a new trailer for Blindside Games’ Maneater, an open-world RPG in which you play as a large bull shark, at the E3 2018 PC Gaming Show.
Maneater features a full single-player campaign, complete with an RPG progression system – yes, that means the shark has skill trees. The Maneater developers’ previous work includes Depth, a humans v. sharks action game.
There is currently no specific release date for the game, but the trailer says it is “coming soon.”
Sega showed a sizzle reel of the games its planning on bringing to PC, including Yakuza Zero and Yakuza Kiwami.
Shining Resonance Refrain, Shenmue I and II, Valkyria Chronicles 4, and the previously mentioned Yakuza titles will all be ported over.
Yakuza Zero is available for pre-order now and will come to Steam in August.
Warframe is Digital Extreme’s free-to-play, third-person shooter, and its latest cinematic quest is called The Sacrifice. It launches this week, and you can get a taste of the story in the trailer below.
Warframe is a popular title, so you’ve probably heard of it by now. But in case you haven’t, we declared it a fantastic free-to-play game way back in 2014, and it has only gotten better since.
Ubisoft formally announced Assassin’s Creed Odyssey today during its E3 press conference. A few weeks ago, Leo and I went to Quebec City and played a five-hour demo. We played as different characters, took different approaches to combat, and made different choices during our hands-on time. Take a look at our latest episode of New Gameplay Today to see how those choices affected what we saw.
As you can see in the video above, Leo played as Alexios (A-Leo-xios?), while I opted for Kassandra (Korksandra?). He played as a nice guy, while I did my best to remain a ruthless mercenary. He successfully romanced one of the NPCs, while I pushed my luck and completely failed. Even though our experiences – and endings – were fairly different, we ended up having a lot of fun in ancient Greece. Certain scenes are missing dialogue audio, and we apologize for that.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 5.
Last year, Ubisoft Montreal took the Assassin’s Creed series in a bold new direction with Assassin’s Creed Origins. Combat was more action-oriented, encouraging players to step away from the “block until you can counter” style that later entries relied on. It also leaned harder on character customization, with more of an emphasis on loot than players had seen before. Ubisoft Quebec is building off that foundation, while creating a game with its own identity. Don’t expect a quick palette-swapped sequel in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, in other words.
This new game, just fully revealed at Ubisoft’s E3 press conference, is set in ancient Greece (431 B.C., to be exact), and will let Assassin’s Creed players shape the world, the story, and their in-game identity in unprecedented ways. Here’s what you need to know, based on our extensive hands-on time with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Ubisoft Quebec’s last game in the series, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, let players control a pair of twins, Jacob and Evie Frye. You’re able to control a male or female hero in Odyssey, though you won’t be bouncing between them as the story pulls you forward. Instead, you choose to play as either Alexios or Kassandra at the start, and you continue with that character throughout the duration of the adventure. While there are some subtle differences in their performances and how the voice actors deliver their lines, you don’t need to agonize over the choice from any lingering sense of FOMO.
“Everything is open for both characters,” says creative director Jonathan Dumont. “It’s much more of an identification for you, for how to relate and connect to your character. That’s why you have the choice.” Unlike Jacob and Evie, who gravitated toward combat or stealth, players can shape their character as they see fit. If you want Kassandra to smash faces in with a club or have her stick to the shadows, it’s your call.
Regardless of who you ultimately choose, your role in the world is the same. You’re a mercenary, though there’s more to it than that. “You’re a descendant of King Leonidas of Sparta, who is believed to have had legendary first-civilization DNA blood,” Dumont says. “And he wielded a first civ artifact, this spear, and that got brought to you and you wield it as well.”
Things did get a little weird when I asked Dumont to clarify that early character decision. What happens to the character you don’t choose? Does that counterpart still exist somewhere in the world, or are you playing god with that decision and choosing which of the pair was born? “We will communicate on this later,” was all that Dumont would say.
It’s no coincidence that you play as someone with an important lineage. Even though your ancestor King Leonidas predates the Assassins and Templars by a few hundred years, the contemporary in-game storyline is a part of Odyssey. Ubisoft recognizes that opinion on this element of the series is divided, particularly since the story of Desmond wrapped up in Assassin’s Creed III. Origins introduced players to Layla Hassan, a former Abstergo employee gone rogue, who is able to access ancestral memories of people she has no DNA link to. Layla is back in Odyssey.
“Layla is important to the overall story, and you do have a couple of gameplay sequences with her,” says gameplay director Scott Phillips. “I would say that it’s a slightly increased nature versus Origins, but not dramatically. Present day is always a tricky subject with fans and internally. Honestly, it’s very polarizing, so finding that right way to weave that into each game is tricky. Personally, I’m a fan of the present day, so games like Assassin’s Creed II, where it was woven the most into the mix of the two are the best, so I think we tried to take a cue from that, but we’ll see what fans think.”
During our hands-on time, we were able to sneak behind enemies and assassinate them, but we didn’t do it with a familiar wrist-mounted apparatus. Where’s the hidden blade? If you’ve been paying attention to the lore and timeline, you already know the answer. (Hint: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey takes place in 431 B.C., which is the earliest setting in the series.)
I’ll let Dumont handle this one. “There’s no hidden blade in the game,” he says. “The hidden blade is introduced in Origins. In our game, we have the broken spear.”
Whether you chose Alexios or Kassandra, or decide to go with a stealth, ranged, or face-smasher build, one thing is consistent: You’ve got a first-civilization artifact. Assassin’s Creed fans recognize the significance of that statement, but if you’re new to the series, you should appreciate the fact that having King Leonidas’ spear is kind of a big deal – broken or not. These powerful relics are at the center of the long-standing battle between the Assassins and Templars, and they’ve featured prominently throughout the games, movies, and comics.
“For me, one of the cool things about the spear of Leonidas and using that in place of the hidden blade is that the spear of Leonidas is sort of the first time in Assassin’s Creed you get an artifact to use the entire time in the game,” says Phillips. “It’s not just five minutes at the end of the game where you get the Apple of Eden and then the game’s over. For us, it’s the entire game. You’re spending the entire time upgrading and improving that.”
We didn’t get to see many of those upgrades in action during our demo, and we’re eager to see how a leveled-up spear acts in combat. Dumont says it’s grounded – don’t expect to see it blasting off face-melting beams – but that it will allow players to feel extraordinarily powerful. Where we were in the game, somewhere around halfway through the campaign, it felt familiar. That’s by design.
“It allowed us to rethink a bit while still keeping some of the same pillars that you feel,” Dumont adds.
“You don’t have the visual of the hidden blade, but you have the function. It allows us to take a different spin on what you’re doing in the game.”
Players who have spent hours exploring ancient Egypt and the Nile delta in Assassin’s Creed Origins will feel right at home in Odyssey – at least in terms of general gameplay. The controls and overall approach to combat are the same, reinforcing the notion that the last game marked a new direction for the series moving forward. That sense of familiarity is the result of early collaboration between the teams at Ubisoft’s Quebec City and Montreal studios.
“I discussed with Ashraf [Ismail] the game director on Origins pretty regularly, so we knew early on that we were on similar paths,” Phillips says. “They were still figuring out their game as we were figuring out our game. Ultimately, we knew for us that RPG was key, and ACO was going in that same direction, and we were going to go even farther as we possibly could to deliver an Assassin’s Creed full-on RPG. I think building that and building on role-playing and choice were key to what we wanted to bring to Assassin’s Creed. I think it does feel like a transition that we’re completing for Assassin’s Creed into that RPG.”
“And we integrated quite a bit of their code,” Dumont adds. “So what they’re building, like they rebuilt the fight, we’re not going to rebuild the fight.” Instead, the team at Quebec took that framework and added its own take onto it, incorporating combat abilities into the structure similarly to how players map their favorite moves from the skill trees to face buttons in Diablo III.
You’re going to be exploring a lot of islands during your Mediterranean journey, and swimming can get a little dull. Thankfully, you’ve got a boat. This vessel serves as a mobile hub of sorts (a la Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate’s train), giving players another element to interact with and upgrade. Players who missed the open-water adventure that Black Flag provided have reason to rejoice with Odyssey.
“Being an ancient Greek odyssey, we had to bring back open-world naval,” Phillips says. “So Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the return of a seamless open-world naval – you can explore, get on and off your ship at any time, you can fight ships on the sea with arrows, you can ram into them with your ship – cleave them in half – you can board them with your crew.”
Your crew is an important element of the game. As you travel around the world, you can recruit up to four lieutenants to join you on your voyage. Some can be encouraged through conversation. Others might require a bit more coercion, joining your motley crew after you’ve incapacitated them in combat. Regardless of how they join, they offer a variety of passive buffs, such as increasing your rowing team’s endurance or allowing your archers to fire twice as many arrows in each volley. Your crew members can also join you when you board enemy ships, and you can also summon them into combat on land – provided you unlock that ability in the skill tree.
Our hands-on adventure took place on a pair of islands, Delos and Mykonos. It featured just over a dozen different missions, strung along a surprisingly complicated questline (for more on that, check out our preview). It took about five hours to see that storyline through to completion. Ubisoft Quebec wanted players to encounter a variety of smaller, regional storylines during their voyages, while also delivering a larger-scale adventure.
“We wanted to mirror what it would feel like to be on the odyssey of Odysseus, where he goes on islands and he doesn’t know what he’s going to find,” Dumont says. They designed the game with exploration in mind, rewarding players who move away from pursuing the main questline with richly designed content like what we played.
It would be inconceivable to set a game in ancient Greece without delving into their rich religious tradition. Fortunately for fans of Greek mythology, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will be exploring those elements in some form or another. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to figure out exactly what form it’ll take. Will the gods appear in hallucinations or via Animus glitches, the way the Egyptian pantheon popped up in Origins? Or are they based on reality – or what passes for reality in the AC universe? All Ubisoft will say for now is that they’re present.
“Gods and myth, they absolutely play a part in the game,” Phillips says. “How they fit into everything and how we use Assassin’s Creed and Greek mythology and mix those two is not something we can talk about yet. Even within the structure of the game, it’s something that takes a while to tease that out, and then it sort of explodes, and then you have things across the world that you can engage with. It’s something you’ll come to over time, how that works within the game.”
Assassin’s Creed Origins tweaked the game’s combat, which irked some traditionalists. In the interest of game balance, the days of one-shot assassinations were few and far between. Instead, players had to upgrade their hidden blades and make sure that targets were relatively close to the player level. If not, they faced the humiliation of a failed assassination attempt, with the target shrugging off the attack.
Major targets still won’t fall as easily as they did in the early days of the series, but that doesn’t mean that players who want more of a stealth experience are out of luck in Odyssey. “Because it’s an RPG, assassination is not an instant kill,” Phillips says. “We can’t have that overriding any progression you make in the game. But I would say that my assistant game director played the game in that style just recently, and because he could gear himself with gear that has bonuses to assassination and to stealth, because you can buy passive and active abilities that increase how much damage you can do in stealth, and with things like the rush assassinate where you can chain assassinate enemies who are very far apart, I think for players who want to focus on that, they’re going to be able to do it. It’s not at all impossible. Will it be a challenge? Yes, absolutely. But if you focus on it and that’s the way you want to play, it’s going to happen.”
There’s not really that much to add here. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is filled with gorgeous sights, as well as giant bears, massive nude statues of Apollo, and all the weird things you’ve come to expect from open-world games. If you see something you like, you’ll be able to capture images with an in-game photo mode. Phillips says it will continue to be updated after launch with additional filters and effects. A mosaic blur seems like an obvious one, right?
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 5. For more information on the game, check out my extensive hands-on impressions, as well as our all-new episode of New Gameplay Today that features an hour of footage from our sessions.
You can accuse the Assassin’s Creed series of many things, but good luck making a convincing argument that it’s in a creative rut. The core elements of historical settings, parkour, and political intrigue have remained, but familiar characters, locations, and basic gameplay mechanics have faded away over the years. Compare the first games with their contemporaries, and it’s easy to forget that they’re even part of the same series. That evolution – which purists may or may not appreciate – was especially noticeable with Assassin’s Creed Origins. Ubisoft Montreal’s game marked a significant shift for the IP, changing the foundations of combat and shifting away from the idea of one-shot assassinations.
The newly revealed Assassin’s Creed Odyssey builds off what Origins accomplished, while also giving players unprecedented role-playing freedom. We played Ubisoft Quebec’s latest game for several hours recently, and it’s evident the studio is confidently pushing the boundaries of what Assassin’s Creed is and, more interestingly, what it can be.
Development on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey started about three years ago, around the time that Ubisoft Quebec’s last game, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, shipped. According to game director Scott Phillips, the project has been a long time coming. “We wanted to take RPG and go as far into that as we possibly could,” he says. “For us, it’s more than just player progression, it’s more than just moving from level 1 to 50 and facing tougher enemies. It’s something much deeper and more core than that. What does that mean? It’s a role-playing game. ‘Role’ was the part that we really wanted to focus on. What is your role in this world, and how are you going to interact with the world?”
The world in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is ancient Greece and its surrounding seas. More specifically, it’s 431 B.C., which puts it at the earliest point yet in the Assassin’s Creed timeline – hundreds of years before what would become the Order of Assassins was even a glimmer in Bayek’s eyes. The war between the Spartans and Athenians is going strong, which serves as a violent backdrop to a personal journey.
“It is, at the heart, a family tragedy,” says creative director Jonathan Dumont. “You, as Spartan – a proud Spartan from a noble family – one day your family is shattered because the Oracle at Delphi puts a prophecy of doom that one of your family members would bring doom to Sparta. But you defied that prophecy, and brought shame and dishonor to your family and to Sparta.”
As punishment, your character is thrown from Mount Taygetos and left for dead. Fortunately for players, you survive. Seventeen years later, you’re a mercenary in Catalonia. “One day, you pick up a contract that takes you on a journey to find out the truth about your family and the ones that wronged them,” Dumont says.
When I got my hands on the controller, I picked Kassandra. The demo started about mid-way through the campaign, with a level 18 character. I didn’t have access to everything on the skill tree, but I had enough abilities to get a solid sense of overall combat.
My journey begins on a pair of islands in the southwest corner of the map, Delos and Mykonos. I’ve been summoned by a resistance leader, Kyra, who, along with her companion, Thaletas, is fighting against the tyrannical rule of an Athenian named Podarkes. My job is to track him down and kill him. It’s simple enough, but a quick look at the quest log shows he’s several levels above me. Similar to Origins, you’re welcome to take on challenges above your current level, but they’ll most likely end up in frustration and failure.
Unlike past games, in Odyssey the conversations unfold through multiple dialogue options. Dumont says they didn’t want players to watch someone else’s story, as in past games, but to feel like they were participating in their own. There are more than 30 hours of spoken dialogue in the game, and players will only see a fraction of it, depending on the choices they make. You can choose to take on aggressive tones during your interactions, intimidating people to get your way. Or you can opt for deception and dishonesty, if you prefer. Phillips says there aren’t any skill-checks in the background to determine success or failure, but characters can call you out on your bluffs or be turned off by your tough talk.
I learn that Podarkes is always accompanied by bodyguards, so I decide to take on tasks to erode their strength and morale. One of the first missions is to locate and clear out three camps, which are a source of power for Podarkes and his men. If you’ve spent time in Origins, you’ll feel right at home with the combat and navigation in Odyssey. Attacks are still on the shoulder buttons and bumpers by default, and the big beats are identical. You have a bird that you use to scout areas. You’re an excellent climber. That’s not to say that Ubisoft Quebec hasn’t taken the opportunity to tune things, however.
After it was leaked online, Ubisoft teased Assassin’s Creed Odyssey with a quick clip from the game, showing a character kicking an enemy off a cliff, like the iconic moment from 300. That Sparta kick is an ability you can use in the game, and it’s the source of a lot of ridiculous fun. I had a blast propelling enemies off cliffs, into their friends, or into buildings whenever the opportunity arose. If you think it’s kind of dumb and you’d rather focus on different moves, that’s an option as well. The skill tree has been reinterpreted to feel more like an RPG, requiring players to make decisions rather than methodically unlock every possible upgrade. As you level up, you earn points to unlock nodes on the tree. So far, so good. The key difference here is that some abilities are passive, while others are skills players map to the face buttons. Think of them like the hotbar on an MMO, or how the console version of Diablo III functions. I chose to keep the Sparta kick (what can I say?), and I also leaned heavily on an ability that yanked the shields from my opponents and left them vulnerable. There are a lot of shielded enemies in this part of the world, so being able to rip them away by holding a bumper and pressing a button was extremely helpful. Eventually, I unlocked an ability that imbued my weapons with flame, and successful attacks filled a fire meter on my foes. When it completely filled, they burst into flame and took additional damage.
I focused on in-your-face melee skills, with some ranged abilities tossed in for good measure, but players who lean more toward stealth can incorporate familiar standbys like smoke bombs into their arsenals. Ubisoft wouldn’t say what the level cap is, but they did confirm players won’t be able to unlock everything in the tree. You will be able to reset your abilities if you feel like you’ve gone down the wrong path or would just like a fresh start, though, so you aren’t locked in.
During my kicking spree, I noticed something that was another departure from previous games: You can kill civilians, either on purpose or accidentally, and there’s no accompanying text to judge your actions. If you want to kill people who get in your way, steal items from temples, and slaughter livestock that doesn’t belong to you, go nuts – just know that there will be consequences for your actions. The most obvious repercussion comes in the form of mercenaries. As you become more notorious, characters can put bounties on your head and mercenaries will do their best to cash them in. These named mercenaries are a mix of procedurally generated and hand-crafted characters, who have their own abilities and fighting styles. Some can heal themselves when they’re hurt, while others bring dogs and other animals along to accompany them on their fights.
These mercs put up a pretty tough fight, but the rewards can be worth it. They often have decent gear to loot, and you can also recruit them to join you after defeating them. Odyssey has full open-world naval gameplay again, and players can build up their ships – including assigning several key lieutenants. These lieutenants can take the form of mercenaries you’ve defeated and chose to recruit, as well as some that pop up during key moments in the story.
I get one such opportunity after clearing a camp. The leader of the camp has holed himself up in a building. When I confront him, he admits he doesn’t feel as though he made the right decision to side with the Athenians, and he has lost faith in Podarkes’ rule. I’m given the choice of telling him to head to my ship, where a new life awaits, or to fight him. My version of Kassandra seems to be leaning toward the civilian-kicking end of the moral spectrum, so I decide to spill his blood. After defeating him, the third and final camp is cleared – and Podarkes’ strength and influence is reduced.
He’s still a few levels above me, so I set sail for some other things to do. I take a few naval bounties from a board and send some pirates down to visit their old pal, Poseidon. The ship-to-ship combat is quite familiar to what you may remember from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Aya’s missions in Origins. Here, you can instruct your archers to fire arrows and flaming javelins at their opponents, which can be tricky in the choppy Mediterranean seas. When all else fails, you can also ram into your foes. If their vessel is damaged enough, such a move might slice it right in half. In addition to the innate satisfaction of sinking your rivals’ ship, you also get to enjoy the sight of watching sharks thrashing around in a feeding frenzy, turning the water red.
I also checked out a couple of side missions, which ended up having some of the most significant long-term payoffs. First, I ran into Sokrates, and the philosopher enlisted me in a rescue that had its own moral implications. A rebel was taken prisoner, and during his arrest he killed a few soldiers. In this situation, the rebel was said to be acting from a place of morality, considering his work to depose a murderous tyrant. But then he killed soldiers, who were men who were just doing their jobs. Sokrates gave me the location of where this prisoner was being held, and then left the decision of what happened next up to me.
I sneaked into the zone, dispatching a few guards of my own, before finding him tied to a dock. I let him go, and then took him to safety. Afterward, he started talking about his plans, and I realized that he was a completely unhinged maniac. I could have let him go, but I decided to kill him, rather than risk the possibility that he would murder an innocent civilian. The mission ended, and I told Sokrates that he left on a ship and everything was A-OK. He seemed to believe me. Great!
In another seemingly discrete side mission, I stumbled on a wounded woman who says she was hurt by a massive beast. I took on the hunting mission, where I had to find and kill a bear. The first time attempt, I was under-leveled, and I tried taking him out at range. It didn’t work. After doing a few more missions and exploring the ocean floor for treasure, I gave it another shot. This time, I didn’t have a level gap, and I figured out that bears don’t like being set on fire. Once he was down, I did a little investigation on a wrecked ship, and found a series of clues that indicated the woman was smuggling the bear on the ship before all hell broke loose.
Armed with this information, I returned to the woman and tried to extort more of a reward from her. After all, other hunters died trying to clean up her mess, and their families probably wouldn’t be pleased to learn that information. That didn’t go over too well, and she attacked me. A quick battle later, and my purse (and conscience) was a little heavier.
I didn’t know it at the time, but these two missions have the potential of affecting the world in some surprising ways. When you eventually defeat Podarkes, your work is done on the island. Before you leave, you may get a little going-away party in your honor. Or not. It really depends on a variety of your choices, large and small. My ending was pretty boring, really, with Kyra and Thaletas wishing me the best. If I had romanced Kyra, Thaletas would have gotten jealous and potentially challenged me to a duel – a duel where he could have died. As it turns out, Kyra is Podarkes’ daughter, and I could have humiliated her in front of her crew and convinced her to take her own life. If the prisoner had lived, he could have shown up at the party and poisoned both Kyra and Thaletas. Maybe “boring” is better?
If I hadn’t killed the woman with the bear, she could have met and fallen in love with Barnabas, an important member of my crew. From there, she would have joined me on my further voyages. But since I killed her over a few extra bucks, that option was extinguished. There wasn’t any fanfare, no “your actions will have consequences” text on the screen. There was no indication that my actions were affecting the world in any meaningful way until it all played out, and even then it wasn’t spelled out entirely. I can’t say for sure if the islands in the demo were an anomaly, or if these kinds of choices and consequences will be a consistent part of the entirety of the game. I am certain that knowing what I know now, I’ll be more careful with my decisions.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a tantalizing mix of familiar and new, and I walked away completely impressed with not only Ubisoft Quebec’s ambition, but also in their execution. I’m eager to play from the beginning, and see how I can shape the world and my character, assassin or not.
The PC Gaming Show offered a first look at Satisfactory, the new game from Coffee Stain, the makers of Goat Simulator. The team’s new building game seems to have a significantly more serious vibe, with the opportunity to cooperatively work together with friends to build on strange futuristic landscapes. The game focuses on construction, automation, and exploration/exploitation of discovered materials.
The game plays in first-person, and an early trailer shows off the flexibility of the building systems. Learn more at the game’s official site, and check out the first trailer for Satisfactory below.
During Ubisoft’s press conference it detailed its long term plans for The Division 2 and showcased a new cinematic trailer.
In its presentation, Ubisoft said Washington D.C. is prepping for a great threat, and that when you complete the campaign you get the option to follow a new progression path where you choose a signature weapon that will complement your equipment. You will also get exclusive new tools and equipment depending on which path you take.
Ubisoft also revealed that 8-player raids will be coming to The Division 2 and it has plans for three DLC packs. The DLC will be free and will be in the form of episodes that will add new stories, locations, and activities to the game.
The Division 2 releases March 15.
The DLC for the surprising and surprisingly good Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle now finally has a date: June 26. If you are a season pass holder, however, you can download it one day early on June 25, Ubisoft announced during their conference today.
The DLC puts Rabbid Peach on Donkey Kong’s island, which has been taken over by Rabbid Kong. Rabbid Cranky and non-Rabbid Donkey Kong join forces with her to take the island back and stop Rabbid Kong.
You can read our preview of the DLC right here.