During the recent Google Stadia Connect event, gamers got a chance to see more games available in the Stadia Store for “Click to Play” access. Click to Play will also be available for big titles including Marvel’s Avengers, Assassins Creed: Valhalla, and Cyberpunk 2077 when they are released later this year. Stadia will also have titles from 2K Games, including Mafia II & III remastered, Borderlands 3, PGA Tour 2K21, NBA 2K21, and WWE Battlegrounds.
Stadia also announced it is working with a variety of studios around the world on exclusive games for Stadia. These studios include Harmonix, Uppercut Games, and Supermassive Games. More information on these projects will be coming later this year.
Additional releases coming to Stadia in the next few months include PUBG on July 30, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice coming in Fall 2020, and the Hitman Trilogy with Hitman I & II available in September, and Hitman III in January 2021. Initial reactions to the Connect were neutral, as viewers found the game announcements to be subpar, and ultimately wanted more mentions regarding additional features or updates to the Stadia service.
Ubisoft made several exciting new announcements around franchise favorites in its first Ubisoft Forward stream. The overall stream was received well with viewers, as fans enjoyed the announcements and have a close affinity with Ubisoft games.
First fans got an in depth look at Watch Dog: Legions in a short film featuring the realistic streets of London. In a world where ordinary people on the street become heroes, and enemies are black market thugs or massive security companies, the unique universe of Watch Dog: Legions looks like a high speed adventure to watch for. Initial reactions to the cinematic trailer and gameplay were neutral as fans felt the game either looked promising or fell short of their expectations when compared to other games.
Fans of World of Warcraft (WoW) were treated to an update on the latest expansion of Shadowlands, which has completed Alpha testing and is starting Beta testing next week. During Alpha testing there were over 817k quests completed with 64k in-game bugs reported and a countless level of invaluable feedback that has been implemented to prepare for Beta testing. Players who have opted-in for Beta testing will receive invitations to participate and while the game is feature complete, there is still more work to be done. Beta testing will include a level cap increase to 60 as well as a first look at endgame loot.
In addition, the Shadowlands Update stream highlighted several features and showcased more detail on the four distinct covenants, including the Covenant Sanctums which illustrated the unique features in each covenant such as Ember Court, and in-game party location, Path of Ascension where you can play as a Soulbind character, or Queen’s Conservatory, a self-contained gameplay where powerful souls prep for rebirth. Also, Theater of Pain, the last dungeon was revealed, as well as, a quick look at Return to the Maw.
While the stream lasted approximately 45 minutes and there was no gameplay featured, updates for the long standing MMORPG from Game Director, Ian Hazzikostas, were well received from fans, as they believe Blizzard is listening to player feedback about the constant grind of the game. An exact release date was not mentioned, however, Executive Producer, John Hight, stated the Shadowlands expansion would be released this fall.
Fans of CyberPunk 2077 were treated to new insights and visuals of in-game footage with a new, high octane trailer which streamed on Projekt Red’s first episode of their web series, Night City Wire. CyberPunk 2077 is set within an area of 6 districts with a surrounding 7th district called The Badlands, a dystopian desert landscape inhabited by the Nomads. Fans also got a look at Adam Smasher, a fully computed cyborg metal monster, and a more in-depth experience of Ripperdocs, surgeons within Night City who are able to upgrade cyber body parts.
Extensive time was also spent featuring Braindance, a component of gameplay where players can access recordings of another character’s experiences including emotion, sensations, memories, and actions. Braindance is a tool for storytelling and a look into the lives of the people of Night City. Players will be able to use Braindance in editors mode to pick up different clues as they solve mysteries throughout the game. Initial reaction for the stream was overall positive, as fans are excited to see new gameplay for Cyberpunk, however, the Braindance gameplay did see a dip in sentiment, as there were comments comparing the gameplay as a copy and paste to the Batman Arkham series.
Also included in the stream was the announcement of Cyberpunk Edgerunners, an anime series debuting on Netflix in 2022, developed by Trigger Studios. Fans of the video game will recognize the same setting of Night City, but will be able to discover new characters and story lines through the forthcoming series.
With extensive character development and the Witcher 3 quest experience where nothing is a throwaway and every aspect is an important clue in the game, Cyberpunk 2077 creators have listened to their audience and learned what the fans want to make the game the best possible for its release on November 19th for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 with free upgrades to Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
Staying true to the 50 years of lore and history from the comics, Square Enix tells a unique story in Marvel’s Avengers and expands their universe with the newly revealed footage that took a deeper dive into the hero based gameplay. As players enter the game, several years have passed since “A-Day”, a day for celebration for the Avengers wherein a tragedy caused death and destruction and the Avengers were blamed. The supervillain, MODOK has emerged to manipulate public fear and control machines with his mind, making him the most sophisticated threat the Avengers have ever faced.
Modern Avenger fans will be able to play in both single-player mode and teams of four in War Zones. There are several ways to customize your character including classic outfits inspired by the comics going all the way back to the 60’s, as well as the ability to select your character’s attitude with emote customization. You can also match your hero to your style of play with combat versatility. There are also single-player campaigns called Hero Missions, where you can engage in non-A-Day play, selecting from a variety of your favorite Avengers characters including Iron Man, Thor, and Black Widow.
In War Zones, players will be able to come together on the Helicarrier, select missions or challenges, and explore several different cities and locations with a variety of landscapes. Along the way you will work with The Resistance, a diverse cast composed of inhumans, shield agents, and other factions to help you along your journey. Initial reactions from the stream are very positive, as viewers enjoyed the look, feel, and gameplay of the hero missions and war zones gameplay. Marvel’s Avengers is set to launch on September, 4th.
Staying true to the tradition EA has built around its annual EA Play stream, this year’s stream had something for everyone. Starting off by acknowledging the current state of the world with the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests happening world-wide, EA CEO Andrew Wilson commended the gaming community and players for using games to connect socially and proving how video games are an essential form of entertainment, especially during this time.
EA showcased several new and evolving games during its stream including a new Collection Event in Apex Legends, an emotional look at Sims through testimonials of players, an invigorating look at EA Sports Madden 21 and FIFA 21, and the long awaited announcement of Skate coming back! In an effort to reach and connect as many gamers as possible, EA has announced many of its games are heading to Steam and Nintendo Switch in the near future, as well as, announcing cross-play for some of its more popular titles, such as Apex: Legends. Initial reactions to the overall event were positive, as viewers looked forward to the lineup of games and gameplay footage of leaked games from earlier in the week.
Set in the distant city of New Himuka, with elements of classic anima mixed with western sci-fi elements, Scarlet Nexus is a completely new series from Bandai, creators of “The Tales of” series. Initial reactions of the reveal were positive, as viewers were pleasantly interested in the enemy design, visual effects, and gameplay. This fast-paced action game is elevated with the unique aspects of psychokinetic abilities in combat situations.
As mutants, referred to as “the others”, descend on New Himuka, with a thirst for human brains, players experience enhanced graphics, seamless transitions, and an immersive, intense style of gameplay. With no launch date being announced yet, and the fact that the action-RPG is in development for PS5, Xbox Series X, PC, PS4, and Xbox One there's still some time to go before fans can experience Scarlet Nexus for themselves.
Amazon Games debuted its new War Mode for its New World MMO on streaming earlier this week to mixed reaction from the gaming community, as viewers' interests began to decrease from the longer format of the reveal. Those familiar with the game did not find any new content, and those new to the game found the MMO to be generic.
New World is an open world MMO set in the 17th century on a dangerous island. With a deep story to discover, players engage in action based combat where skill really matters in positioning and timing. New World maintains the traditional elements of MMOs with a progression system and story content, but innovates from other MMOs with open world elements giving players the ability to create their own story lines, take over territories, and even set tax rates within their territories. War Mode determines who controls the territories between 3 rally points where factions compete in a 50 on 50 battle. Within the story of the island, players discover several families who inhabit the island and have their own motives for power including, The Corrupted, The Lost, and The Angry Earth. Amazon’s New World is set to launch August 25th.
2K and Hangar 13 have remastered the 2002 Definitive Edition of Mafia with precise detail and attention. The original trilogy has been completely remastered with 4k support. The 1930’s prohibition setting is the same, set in the city of Lost Heaven, loosely based on the Chicago landscape. Not only has every aspect of gameplay been redone and every asset rebuilt, but all cinematic elements have been rewritten with cutting edge facial scanning, enhancing expressions and details.
While the story, plot, and missions are the same, keeping with the nostalgic vibe of fans, the city and driving details have also been remastered to meet the expectations of today’s gamers. Initial reactions of the remaster are positive, as fans are excited to experience the first entry in the series again, but has received mixed reactions for the quality of its facial and graphical overhaul. The remastered Mafia Definitive Edition is set to launch on August 28th.