This Week in Gaming: Call of Duty (again), Skyrim (yet again), and so much Pokémon
This week in gaming was one with some great game announcements, most of them centered around Pokémon. We also got the long-awaited reveal of Call of Duty: Vanguard, right in the middle of Activision’s big mess, as well as the theft of Among Us’s schtick by Fortnite. Finally, in case you missed it, Skyrim is coming out…again.
Pokémon, Pokémon, and more Pokémon
On Wednesday the Pokémon Company held its Pokémon Presents livestream, in which it revealed more details about the company’s upcoming games: The remakes Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus. BD and SP are adorable, and we can finally see more of what the gameplay will look like in the new trailer. The game will generally be very similar to the original release, with several of the minigames intact, but players will also be able to customize their trainer’s outfit.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus, meanwhile, looks very different from most other games in the series. It’s an open-world action RPG set in the ancient Hisui region (later called Sinnoh). You play a member of the Galaxy Team, who study the Pokémon of the region. You can get into battles with Pokémon in real-time, and deploy your own captured Pokémon onto the field in order to initiate turn-based combat. It looks very different from any Pokémon I’ve thus far played, but still very interesting, like a combination of Pokémon, Breath of the Wild, and Monster Hunter. In addition to the above games, the Pokémon Company has announced that the free MOBA Pokémon Unite will launch on iOS and Android on September 22.
Activision announces Call of Duty Vanguard
It’s that time of year again: Another Call of Duty game has been announced. Most of the details on this one were leaked ahead of the official reveal, but here it is in a nutshell: The new game is called Call of Duty: Vanguard, and it takes place during World War II. The campaign features stories from multiple theaters of the war, including the Pacific and North Africa. There will also be multiplayer gaming with cross-play and cross-progression, with 20 maps being available on day one, and a zombies mode developed by Treyarch.
Activision Blizzard still hasn’t resolved the ongoing controversy surrounding the sexual harassment and discrimination against several of its workers, but we all knew they were going to announce a new Call of Duty eventually — though the ongoing scandal might be why they removed the Activision branding from the teaser trailer. The head of Sledgehammer Games, the primary developer, even addressed the situation directly, with studio head Aaron Halon saying: “While we cannot comment on the lawsuit, what I can say is that as a team, we are committed to making sure all team members feel safe, welcome, and respected.”
Fortnite swipes Among Us’s gameplay for a new mode
Fortnite, in its continuous efforts to jealously guard a massive share of gamer’s attention, has decided to steal gameplay from an indie game that dared to get even somewhat as popular as the battle royale title (somewhere the developers of PUBG are having an embittered laugh). Epic Games recently rolled out a new mode called Imposters, in which a team of eight agents must discover the two imposters hidden in their midst while doing a series of tasks and holding meetings whenever an agent is killed. Yeah, it’s Among Us. It’s so very much Among Us that even the maps are similar.
This game mode was leaked ahead of release, but it was assumed to be an official crossover, given that Fortnite is aiming to be the ultimate crossover property. Among Us developers Innersloth denied this but said it would be cool if it were to happen. Needless to say, they were not even slightly amused by this blatant rip-off of the gameplay they perfected and made popular. Marcus Bromander, one of the studio’s co-founders, said on Twitter: “We didn’t patent the Among Us mechanics. I don’t think that leads to a healthy game industry. Is it really that hard to put 10% more effort into putting your own spin on it though?”
Skyrim is coming out yet again (oh, and so is Quake)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is getting its fiftieth release (by my count), this time a “definitive” version called The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition. This version contains the base game, all of the DLCs, and over 500 pieces of content from the Creation Club, which includes “pre-existing and new quests, dungeons, bosses, weapons, spells, and more!” Oh, and in case you aren’t confused already, those who already own the Special Edition will get a free next-gen upgrade, but it won’t be the full Anniversary Edition.
But we’re all used to hearing about yet another Skyrim release, so it was more of a pleasant surprise to hear that Quake has just been remastered for all consoles. That’s right, one of the OG FPSes is now available on Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch, with a free next-gen upgrade for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S on the way. It includes the two original expansions, as well as two from MachineGames: “Dimension of the Past,” and the all-new “Dimension of the Machine.” It’ll also feature online and local co-op, as well as crossplay. We love to see it!
August’s Free Games Via Subscription Services
For this part of the weekly gaming update, we’ll add the games that have been added to or announced for subscription and streaming services.
Xbox Game Pass new game additions:
- Humankind (PC) — August 17
- Need for Speed Heat (Cloud) — August 17
- Star Wars Battlefront II (Cloud) — August 17
- Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (Cloud) — August 17
- Recompile (Cloud, PC, Xbox Series X/S) — August 19
- Train Sim World 2 (Cloud, Console, PC) — August 19
- Twelve Minutes (Cloud, Console, PC) — August 19
- Psychonauts 2 (Cloud, Console, PC) — August 25
- Myst (Cloud, Console, PC) — August 26