Once upon a time, a PC gaming publisher had a bright idea. “What if we made a game that looks like the one people already like,” they burbled, “but is unrecognisably different in all other respects?”
Read more: the best sandbox games on PC.
And, lo, the spin-off was born. On a good year you get a Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. On an off year? An odd curio like the ones in the new episode of the Weekend Esc. We’re talking a Worms game where you play as the Homing Pigeon, and a Sonic title where the blue wonder isn’t allowed to run.
In the news, Alice and Rich chat about the release of Assassin’s Creed Origins’ Discovery Tour mode, the surprisingly effective version of the game that lets you learn about Ancient Egypt as you lurk around its landmarks. There’s clearly something in the aqueducts, since Age of Empires: Definitive Edition is here too, looking fresh-faced and contemporary.
Meanwhile, Metal Gear Survive has proved less forward-thinking - explicitly banning falling in love with other players in its terms and conditions. And we’ve seen the return of the OWL, which we’re celebrating by giving away an Overwatch goodie bag and scarf.
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And that’s it! All that’s left is to spin up that vid and enjoy the strangest spin-offs yet made.