What a relief! To begin a Bank Holiday Monday and be met not by a wave of snoozy out-of-office emails, but an unexpected plethora of games announcements - it's unheard of. Suspicious, almost. During what scientists predict will be a 24 hour coincidence spike, developers from around the world have chosen today to launch shock new games or declare company u-turns. I’m extraordinarily grateful.
There are really too many happenings to separate out into individual news posts, so I’ve dutifully collected them all here.
ArenaNet have furnished all player characters in Guild Wars 2 with 200% larger heads, beginning today.
“Unnamed studies indicate players feel more emotionally engaged with characters that have heads, which is why every character in Guild Wars 2 has one,” wrote the MMO studio. “If players like characters that have heads, logic dictates that they’ll love characters with freakishly large heads”.
The various branches of Blizzard have been especially busy. An unnamed dev team have been working on a beat-em-up counterpart to Heroes of the Storm, named Blizzard Outcasts.
Thanks to features like Dirty Tricks and Uneven Matchmaking, great “supporting characters” like former Terran emperor Arcturus Mengsk can finally give Blizzard’s all-stars their comeuppance.
“The Blizzard Outcasts™ are no strangers to ridiculously overpowered heroes kicking down their doors and slapping them silly, being forced to fight battles that are just not fair,” write the dev team. “But let’s see what happens when the tables are turned and the playing field is finally made completely even.”
“87% of respondents choose the HotS acronym over another random video game acronym,” said Blizzard head of trend studies Jack Sterling. “People seem to like how easy it is to say, how attractive they feel when saying it, and the sudden rise in body temperature associated with such an impactful acronym.”
Unbelievably, Bohemia have also chosen today to announced their DayZ follow-up - a Van Damme-referencing genre switch-up that turns Altis into a 270 km² Mediterranean playground “full of kart racing spectacle”. In Arma 3 Karts, “wheels and alarm pistols” are your weapons, and helmets “your best defense”.
“Since we’re already in the zombie business with DayZ, we felt the next logical expansion would be to take on karting,” said creative director Jay Crowe.
Elsewhere, Wargaming have revealed plans to usher national-flagged flying saucers into World of Warplanes - beginning with the Tier 5 German Kampfflugplatte Sleipnir I UFO, and pending approval from the game’s community.
And the studio’s Seattle branch have named Gas Powered Games founder Chris Taylor’s “next big thing” - a browser-based, co-op tank slasher called World of Tanks: Crayfish. It’s already playable on the World of Tanks site (hopefully in beta, because it’s a bit bum).
“I’ve been asked recently why an international company with over 3,000 employees is so slow in presenting new titles and what Chris Taylor and his team are working on in Seattle,” said Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi. “Well, here’s our latest project, and it answers both.”
The news comes just as rivals in war gaming Gaijin have updated their War Thunder with a new Japanese war machine - the experimental Daikaidzu ‘Gaijilla’ GD11a, last deployed against the Burmese National Army in March 1945.
Players of Mojang’s Scrolls will benefit from a half-gold weekend beginning on Saturday - an idea gleaned from common feedback that it’s “far too easy to earn gold, especially for new players”.
“In other news, we’ve been reconsidering our stance on the game’s name,” wrote Mojang. “With Scrolls not only a common word, but also present in other major titles, we’re thinking of using the name ‘Cards’ instead.”
And finally, digital retailer Green Man Gaming have branched out into game development with their own GMG Simulator. It’s a day-in-the-life experiential affair, currently out of stock, about working your way up the games industry ranks as a just-out-of-uni GMG intern.
“We are thrilled to share our average working lives with core gamers in this no-holds barred, blockbuster real-world simulator,” said EVP of marketing Darren Cairns.
Consider us bowled over. We haven’t had so many games announcements in one week since GDC. We don’t ordinarily crowdsource our reporting, but as there’s so much going in: are there any we’ve missed?