This Week in Gaming: Saints Row, Halo Infinite, and the rest of Gamescom’s announcements
Most of the news that was fit to print this week was premiered at Gamescom, the European gaming event where we got to see some previously-unseen gameplay from the major titles, including a new Saints Row, Call of Duty: Vanguard, and Halo Infinite. I can’t contain every piece of news from Gamescom, but I’ll try to cover all of the biggest announcements from the show.
New Saints Row and Marvel games announced at Gamescom
One of the biggest games to be revealed at Gamescom was a new Saints Row title. The series has been dormant since 2015’s Gat out of Hell, so the news that Volition was working on a new game in the series was particularly welcome. The trailer for the game revealed it to be a reboot starring a new group of Saints and set in a new location. Fan reception to the first trailer was mixed, but follow-up materials have been more in line with the spirit of the franchise. The game is set to launch on February 25, 2022.
Another new game revealed at the show was Marvel’s Midnight Suns. This new game is a tactical RPG with several familiar Marvel characters facing off against a demonic entity. If Marvel’s Avengers feels like an attempt to capture the spirit of the MCU films, Midnight Suns feels like an attempt to capture the spirit of its TV show spin-offs: It’s dark, weird, and cool. The characters include Blade, Ghost Rider, Magik, and Nico Minoru. We’re also getting a customizable player character to play called The Hunter.
Halo Infinite and Horizon Forbidden West get release dates
In addition to new games, we also got some much-needed updates on upcoming games. Specifically, we got some release dates. We now know that Halo Infinite will launch on December 8, just making its 2021 release window. While we didn’t get a look at the campaign at any time during the show, we know that both it and the multiplayer mode will launch simultaneously. Microsoft also announced the Halo Infinite limited edition Xbox and controller at the same event.
Another release date we got, a bit further out than we might have been hoping for, was Horizon Forbidden West. There were rumors that the game would miss the projected 2021 release window — it’s not officially a delay as the developers hadn’t set a firm date up to this point — but now we know the game will instead launch on February 18. February is shaping up to be a big month for games, as we also discovered that the action game Sifu will launch on February 22.
Call of Duty: Vanguard, Forza Horizon 5, and Destiny 2 were also there
It’s hard to contain all of the new trailers and details from Gamescom in just a few paragraphs, so here’s a quick rundown on some of the more interesting details that I haven’t mentioned already: We got gameplay reveal for the campaign of Call of Duty: Vanguard, as well as more details on the playable character Polina Petrova. She’s a Russian sniper who can navigate vertically to vantage points. We also got a big gameplay showcase of Forza Horizon 5, starring the game’s many beautiful cars and the equally beautiful Mexican landscape.
Finally, we got a huge Destiny 2 showcase, in which Bungie revealed details about the new season, Season of the Lost, and the upcoming expansion, The Witch Queen. These two new content packs for the game will dive deeper into the series’ lore and reveal some characters that have either been gone a while or have never been seen before but have been mentioned repeatedly. They will also add new mechanics to the game such as crafting and a new difficulty level.
A quick update on ActiBlizz, Overwatch, and Pokémon GO
Trainers – we’re looking forward to sharing our plans as a result of the task force on September 1, but one thing does not have to wait! From now on, 80 meters will be the base interaction radius for PokéStops and Gyms globally. (1/2)
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) August 25, 2021
Since Gamescom got all the attention this week, I’ll limit the other news bits to just a few updates. Some good news for Pokémon GO players: Niantic listened to fan requests and restored the distances for gyms and PokeStops from the pre-pandemic distance of 40 meters to the pandemic distance of 80 meters. Fans had been protesting the decreased distance since it was both dangerous (the distance was reduced in the United States, where the pandemic is still ongoing) and made those locations less accessible. Niantic said on Twitter: “We’ve heard you and understand that this has been a welcome benefit to many players.”
Activision Blizzard is somehow in even hotter water with the state of California. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing amended its complaint against the company this week to allege that the company had suppressed evidence pertaining to the lawsuit by destroying documents. The DFEH also says ActiBlizz’s hiring of WilmerHale interferes with their investigation, and that the company is trying to pressure its employees to speak with either them or WilmerHale, rather than the DFEH, by claiming employees are required to disclose any communication with the DFEH. In other news, Blizzard has confirmed it will be renaming Overwatch’s Jesse McCree, who currently shares his name with a now-fired problematic Blizzard employee.
September’s Free Games Via Subscription Services
For this part of the weekly update, we’ll add the games that have been added to or announced for subscription and streaming services. Xbox Games with Gold:
Xbox Games with Gold for September
- Warhammer: Chaosbane
- Zone of the Enders
- Samurai Shodown II